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EBU will not remove Belarus from Eurovision Song Contest
 22 Feb 2021
Last month, a campaign was launched urging the EBU to remove Belarus from Eurovision 2021 due to ongoing political tensions in the country. The EBU’s Director General has responded saying that the contest “is a music competition with no political agenda”, ESCXtra reports.

The campaign was launched by the Belarusian Culture Solidarity Foundation, which was formed in October by Siarhei Budkin, to provide support for the cultural community in Belarus. The country’s opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has also supported the campaign, saying that she will raise BTRC’s EBU membership with EU Foreign Ministers.

In a letter to Siarhei Budkin, the EBU’s Director General Noel Curran said that they have formally requested that the Belarusian broadcaster BTRC “defend professional journalistic values… to ensure citizens have access to information that enables them to hear a plurality of views and form their own independent judgements.”

Curran also addressed the decision by BTRC to not invite VAL back to Eurovision 2021 saying that, “a number of contestants selected for 2020 by participating broadcasters are not returning for 2021”. He added that the Eurovision Song Contest has “no political agenda” and that the EBU “consistently and vigorously resist attempts for this cultural event to be instrumentalized for political ends.”

The CEO of the Belarusian Culture Solidarity Foundation has responded to the letter on Twitter saying that, “if the EBU is ‘independent from politics’, then how can it include an organization that has repeatedly violated human rights and international law?”

Meanwhile Swedish political party The Liberals have started a petition to exclude BRTC from the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. It is not the first time the Belarusian broadcaster is facing these actions. Karin Karlsbro is leading the movement on behalf of her party.

Karin Karlsbro is the vice chairwoman of the European Union’s delegation for relations with Belarus. She has started a petition to demand action from the EBU once more. In order to call on the EBU to take further action against the regime in Belarus, Karlsbro has started seeking support for her motion in the European Parliament. In an interview with Swedish broadcaster SVT, the politician says: “The EU has created a list of people who have clearly violated basic human rights. The president of the Belarusian state broadcaster is on this list. It is unreasonable to organize a musical competition with a participating dictatorship.”
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