EBU suspends Belarus

At a meeting today the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Executive Board agreed to suspend Belarus Member BTRC.

In a statement, the broadcasting body said: “The EBU has been closely monitoring the suppression of media freedom in Belarus and have consistently called on BTRC, as a Member of the EBU, to uphold our core values of freedom of expression, independence and accountability.

“Since the disputed elections last summer, we have been campaigning for the protection of independent journalism and freedom of expression in the country. We have publicly supported journalists at BTRC who have been protesting against government interference. We have also been monitoring BTRC’s coverage and have communicated our concerns to their management.

“In recent weeks, we have been particularly alarmed by the broadcast of interviews apparently obtained under duress.

“We have also monitored other BTRC broadcasts on this issue which have raised other serious and quite exceptional concerns.

“In light of these exceptional developments, the Executive Board has no alternative other than to propose the suspension of BTRC’s membership of the EBU.”

BTRC will have two weeks to respond, before suspension comes into effect.

Eurovision Song Contest

Aside from today’s decision, Belarus was disqualified from the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest for twice fielding songs deemed to have broken competition rules.

They internally selected pro-government group Galasy ZMesta as their representative, with the song “Ya nauchu tebya (I’ll Teach You)”, but the entry was deemed ineligible to compete.

After their replacement entry “Pesnyu pro zaytsa (Song About Hares)” was also deemed a rule breaker, Belarus was disqualified from the contest on 26 March 2021.

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