‘Not eligible’: Pro-Lukashenka band’s song barred from competing at Eurovision 2021

The band Halasy ZMesta (Voices from Town) which is to represent Belarus at Eurovision-2021. Photo: ATN_BTRC/TG.

On Thursday afternoon. the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has released a statement regarding Belarus’ Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) entry.

As part of the regular procedure for all songs submitted to the contest, the EBU carefully scrutinized the Belarusian song, Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You) by Halasy ZMesta to ensure it complies with the rules, the press service reports.

The Union concludes that the song puts the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest in question and might bring its reputation into disrepute.

“We have written to the broadcaster BTRC, which is responsible for Belarus’ entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, to inform them that the song, in its present form, is currently not eligible to compete. Furthermore we’ve requested that they take all necessary steps to submit a modified version, or a new song, that is compliant with the ESC rules. Failure to do so could result in disqualification from this year’s contest,” the statement reads.

In January, the Belarusian Foundation for Cultural Solidarity launched a campaign aimed at expelling BTRC from the European Broadcasting Union and deprive the state-run TV channel Belarus 1 of the right to broadcast and participate in this year’s Eurovision.

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On March 9, the Belarusian TV and Radio Company (BTRC) announced the results of the competition for this year’s Eurovision participant from Belarus: the band Halasy ZMesta (Voices from Town) was listed as the winner.

The YouTube channel of the band (with about 16 thousand subscribers) is decorated with the red and green colors of the national flag. Last year, Halasy ZMesta became famous after the songs, which made fun of the Belarusian protesters and opposition politicians. In particular, the song mentioned above contains the words ‘I will teach you to jig to the tune’, ‘I will teach you to toe the line.’

The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will take place in Rotterdam. The Dutch city was due to host the contest in 2020 before the event was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The semi finals will take place on 18 and 20 May 2021. The Grand Final takes place on 22 May 2021.

Hate propaganda on Belarusian state TV