EBU confirms Belarus will not take part in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest

They were given two weeks to submit a modified version with new lyrics, or a completely new song, should they wish to. However, today the EBU  have confirmed that the Belarusian broadcaster BTRC have been withdrawn from the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, due to unsuitable lyrics to another submitted song.

On the 9th of March, Eurovision fans all over the world reacted with anger towards the Belarusian broadcaster. BTRC  presented the band Galasy ZMesta and their song Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You) as their 2021 Eurovision Song Contest entry. The band is known for their strong support to president Alexander Lukashenko, who many considers to be Europe’s last dictator. However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is not going to throw out any acts solely based on their political views. In this case, they reacted based towards the lyrics.

Today Belarus submitted another song, but again it has been rejected because of the lyrics

The statement from the EBU reads

“On Wednesday 10 March we wrote to the broadcaster BTRC, which is responsible for Belarus’ entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, to request that they take all steps necessary to amend their entry to this year’s event to ensure it is compliant with the rules of the competition.

Following this BTRC submitted a new song, by the same artists, within an agreed timeframe.

The EBU and the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board, carefully scrutinized the new entry to assess its eligibility to compete.

It was concluded that the new submission was also in breach of the rules of the competition that ensure the Contest is not instrumentalized or brought into disrepute.

As BTRC have failed to submit an eligible entry within the extended deadline, regrettably, Belarus will not be participating in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in May.

BTRC previously had two options provided by the EBU:

  • Submit the same song but with new lyrics, which will apply to the rules
  • Submit another song, which will apply to the rules

Should the broadcaster insist on the first proposed song, they would face disqualification. A third option not mentioned by the EBU existed though; that the broadcaster instead withdrew from the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. In 2009, that was what happened in a similar case with Georgia.

Georgia’s withdrawal from the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest

The Georgian GPB broadcaster had submitted Stephane & 3G’s We Don’t Wanna Put In as their entry for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. EBU asked the broadcaster to change the lyrics or submit a new song. The lyrics were seen as offensive to Russia and Vladimir Putin. It probably didn’t help Georgia’s case either that the 2009 contest would be held in Moscow, Russia.

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