The European Broadcasting Union has announced that they will be suspending the membership of Belarusian broadcaster, BTRC. The broadcaster will have two weeks to respond before the suspension comes into place.
The Executive Board of the EBU agreed to suspend BTRC due to concerns over the political situation in Belarus and how it has filtered into the broadcasting. The EBU has released a statement on the situation, which is as follows:
‘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 was set to take part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, however their entry was deemed too political by organisers. They were given the opportunity to present a new song, however again, it did not meet the requirements of the contest. As a result, the nation was forced to withdraw.
It remains to be seen whether Belarus will take part in the upcoming edition of Junior Eurovision.