The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 had just concluded a few days before, but even then, trouble was just around the corner. Back in the final days of May 2021, it was announced that the EBU would suspend the Belarusian national channel BTRC within 2 weeks, should they not reply and comment on the ongoing situation. Instead, the threat of suspension, has now become an act of expulsion.

BTRC Replies

The following reply was made public on BTRC’s official website(NOTE: The reply is a bit lengthy and poorly grammatically translated, but the message should be clear enough.):

  • Late the night before, another piece of news came from the “democratic” and “independent” West. The European Broadcasting Union from today suspends the membership of Belteleradiocompany(BTRC) in the organization.
    Belteleradiocompany with a smile and some satisfaction welcomes the long-awaited fact of suspension of cooperation with the EBU – an organization that has not had, does not and will never have its own opinion. Having come to the EBU summits for years, we were surprised that the people gathered there were not interested in anything other than issues of gender equality and threats from Russia, and voting at the elections of leaders of different levels reminded us of the elections of “dear Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev” during the Soviet Union. Even the Communist Party of the Soviet Union did not see such unanimity. Everyone was always in favor there. Of course, this suggests that the EBU is a structure where everything is decided on the sidelines. And on the sidelines, not the EBU, which we have witnessed.
    We have many friends in the EBU, and, of course, we have known for a long time that they are going to suspend our membership in the organization. At first we wanted to leave the union ourselves. It would be beautiful, but any farce must be brought to its climax. And we wanted to see, so what will they charge us? We watched with bated breath the titanic work of the EBU employees, who tried to justify the entire horror of showing on air the statement of Roman Protasevich that he actually did not die. And they did it. EBU clerks deserve a vacation!
    We are sorry for you, EBU leadership. The Chairman of the Belteleradiocompany recently spoke for several tens of minutes with the General Director of EBU Noel Curran. We feel sorry for him, and we do not judge him. He has a good job, a great position, and a decent salary. During the entire conversation, he was unable to present a single intelligible claim against Belteleradiocompany, except that “you are involved in this” and “Protasevich’s parents believe that he is being held hostage.” It was proved to him that we were not the first to distribute the video with Dziadok and Protasevich. It is clear to the amateur that we did not shoot these videos, and now the whole world understands that there was no torture. Dziadok is cheerful, fresh and happy to write another heroic page in his biography of the recidivist anarchist who set fire to the embassies of foreign states. There is nothing to say about Protasevich. Roman and his girlfriend Sapega live in apartments under house arrest, walk through Minsk parks and give interviews left and right. The regime’s atrocities have reached unprecedented proportions!
    Of course, the EBU knows that Western countries participated in the preparation of the coup in Belarus. We all know that EBU members, public service broadcasters in a number of countries, are servants of the ruling elites. Broadcasters from Poland(TVP), Lithuania(LRT), Czech Republic(CT) – their reports about Belarus remind us of American television stories in the worst years.
    Please note that, trumping us with the rules and principles of the EBU, the union did not react in any way to the facts of beating up our reporters during opposition rallies, harassment of our company’s employees before the elections, attacks on them, damage to personal property, publication of personal data and residence addresses. We do not need their protection, we did it ourselves, but nevertheless. They ignored the facts we proved of the endless lies of Deutsche Welle, ARD, Lithuanian television, the fabrication of a story about women’s marches by a Norwegian broadcaster, and a stream of low-quality false propaganda from one of the TVP channels (Belsat). We recently debunked another fake of this garbage can. The story about the “torture” of a taxi driver by law enforcement officers turned out to be a figment of the sick imagination of the journalist Belsat. The “hero” of the plot simply read the text she had invented on a dictaphone. For 100 euros. This shame of the European Broadcasting Union is the shining face of European journalism.
    We promise to continue to tell truthfully about what is happening in the country and the world. That there was a riot in Belarus, that the demonstrations were not peaceful, and the EBU members are lying about it. We will show how in The Netherlands they are crushing peaceful demonstrators who opposed COVID restrictions with horses and smearing them on the walls with water cannons. As in France, during the dispersal of a rave party, people are ripped off their hands. How an unarmed woman is killed point-blank in the US Parliament, and later she is declared an internal terrorist for this. How opposition channels are closed and journalists are being killed in Ukraine. How Russian-language media are closed in Latvia. How oppositional “spies” -journalists are imprisoned in Poland and the ruling party plunders money allocated to help immigrants from Belarus.
    We will also save many millions of euros and fulfill the dream of the majority of Belarusians. No more Eurovision! 
    And all the agencies that already contact us with a proposal to take the place of the EBU are welcome!

Meaning and reactions

The message of the reply is very clear, that the representatives of BTRC no longer have any desire to co-operate with what is considered by them “Western Values”. The reply clearly directly attacks both the EBU and some of it’s members. Claims about the EBU having double standards when it comes to Belarus and even Russia. At the same time, they acknowledge what has been happening in the country for the past year, but refuse to take the blame of all that has been going on.

The state-owned television channel did however undergo quite some changes during the Belarusian presidential protests, with multiple workers quitting their job on the spot at the broadcaster, including people who have been directly involved with the Eurovision Song Contest in the past. Among them is Evgeny Perlin, who even hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, when it was held in Belarus, Minsk in 2018, and who has been the commentator for Belarus since 2013.

Earlier tonight, former head of Russian service of EuroNews, Petr Fedorov, even spoke out about this, during the BTRC newsshow called “Panorama“. Claiming that the EBU are being biased against both Belarus and Russia. (In Russian)

Opposition leader for the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has also commented on the expulsion of BTRC, showing her support for the decision taken by the EBU:

Even the EBU itself, has now even removed BTRC has a member on their own site. The Belarusian broadcaster is no longer considered an active member, and has been fully expelled from the organisation as of July 1st 2021.

To put it all in short and what it all means, then this means that BTRC will no longer be capable of broadcasting specific events and news, which are operated and shared through the EBU. When it comes to events that are currently or soon to start, BTRC is able to broadcast the rest of the EURO 2020 tournament, since there is no direct agreement between the EBU and UEFA. While the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo will most likely be broadcasted through Eurosport, which will cover all of Europe, except for Russia. Programming in the further future is what seems bleak for now, all depending on whether the EBU claims the broadcasting rights or not. However, the EBU is fully responsible for all Eurovision related events, which automatically excludes Belarus from participating, since Belarus no longer has any active EBU members within the country.

As long as the protests are ongoing, we should simply not expect to see Belarus take part in any contests anymore. With BTRC being excluded, it is not expected that Belarus will take part in Junior Eurovision later this year, which will be held in Paris, which leaves The Netherlands as the only participating country to have taken part in every single contest. Planning for next year’s contest in Italy is also well underway in multiple countries, so even a return to the contest overall also seems not likely.

Overall it is unknown what needs to be done in order for BTRC to be accepted back, but the greater question at this point, is rather when or if BTRC will even be ever let back in.

Source(s): TVR.BY, Euroradio & EBU

The final decision has been made upon BTRC, are #YOU happy about them being excluded or do #YOU think things have gone to far, and gone more political than it should’ve? Leave your thoughts with us and others on our forum HERE or visit our social media sites.

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