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Belarus: EBU membership suspended

The EBU Executive Board has announced the suspension of the Belarusian​ broadcaster's EBU membership. The decision comes after the broadcaster not living up to the criteria for freedom of expression and independence

A few months after disqualifying Belarus from this year's Eurovision Song Contest, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has now suspended the country's broadcaster (BTRC) EBU membership.

The news were announced after an EBU Executive Board meeting:

– In recent weeks, we have been particularly alarmed by the broadcast of interviews apparently obtained under duress, they wrote in a press release.

In the same text, the organization highlights their efforts on requesting from the broadcaster a better cooperation with EBU's core values such as "freedom of expression, independence and accountability" as well as their campaigns for the protection of independent journalism.

In conclusion, EBU's Executive Board had no alternative other than proposing the suspension of BTRC's membership of the EBU. The broadcaster will have two weeks to respond before the suspension is put in place.

With this being said, we won't be seeing Belarus competing in Eurovision as of now.

Journalists imprisoned

Freedom of press in Belarus is considered to be very weak. According to the international organization Reporters Without Borders, critical journalists and bloggers are subjected to threats and violence and are arrested in large numbers. Leading news websites are blocked. The print media are censored and access to information is restricted.

At least 24 journalists are currently arbitrarily imprisoned in the country.

The Belarusian Culture Solidarity Foundation has previously asked EBU to suspend BTRC’s membership and to ban Belarus from competing at Eurovision Song Contest.

STATEMENT FROM EBU

At a meeting today the EBU Executive Board agreed to suspend Belarus Member BTRC.

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.

Belarus in Eurovision Song Contest

Belarus 2007: Dmitry Koldun - "Work Your Magic"

Belarus haven't had the greatest success in Eurovision history. They have participated every year since 2004 except in 2021 where Belarus was disqualified from the contest.

Belarus 2007: Dmitry Koldun - "Work Your Magic"

Their best result is a 6th place with the 2007-entry Work Your Magic performed by Dmitry Koldun. This is their only Top-15 position in Eurovision.




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