Belarus could be disqualified (Picture: YouTube)
Belarus face disqualification from the Eurovision Song Contest, after it was ruled that the lyrics to their entry are too political.
This week, it was announced that Galasy ZMesta would represent Belarus in the 2021 Song Contest, after being internally selected.
The group were set to bring their song Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You) to Rotterdam.
However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has now confirmed that Galasy ZMesta will have to either modify their lyrics or produce a new song altogether, or face disqualification.
A statement read: ‘As part of the regular procedure for all songs submitted to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU has carefully scrutinised the Belarusian song Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You) by Galasy ZMesta to ensure it complies with the rules of the competition.
‘It was concluded that the song puts the non-political nature of the Contest in question.
‘In addition, recent reactions to the proposed entry risk bringing the reputation of the ESC into disrepute.
‘We’ve written to the broadcaster BTRC, which is responsible for Belarus’s entry fro 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.’
As per Eurovision rules, ‘no lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the Eurovision Song Contest. No swearing or other unacceptable language shall be allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs.’
This comes after a number of Eurovision websites and fan sites announced they would be limiting the coverage of the Belarusian entry, as they believed that Ya Nauchu Tebya is propaganda for the Belarusian government agenda.
Lyrics translated to English include: ‘I will teach you to toe the line’, which is believed to mock the protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.
Critics of Lukashenko claim that his re-election in August was rigged to extend his 27 year rule.
While Lukashenko denies electoral fraud and accuses the West of sponsoring the protests, he launched a violent crackdown against protesters.
The United Nations warned of a human rights crisis in the country, and said that the protests had led to ‘mass arbitrary arrests and detentions’ of largely peaceful demonstrators, along with ‘hundreds of allegations of torture and ill-treatment’.
Protests have broken out following the Belarusian election (Picture: AFP)
Galasy ZMesta have been outspoken critics of the protests and have mocked opposition figures in their lyrics in previous songs.
Amid the controversy, Belarus have been replaced by the United Kingdom on the jury for Sweden’s entry selection Melodifestivalen, with producer Karin Gunnarsson saying: ‘It was a wrong decision that we selected Belarus as part of the international jury. The situation for free media is very serious in the country. We have therefore chosen to replace the jury group from Belarus with a jury group from the UK.’
After 2020 entry VAL joined the protests after the election, the band was allegedly told they were ‘unsuitable’ to return to represent Belarus in 2021.
This isn’t the first time a song deemed to be too political has been rejected by Eurovision; in 2009, Georgia withdrew from the contest after their song We Don’t Wanna Put In by Stefane & 3FG was perceived to be mocking Vladimir Putin.
The Eurovision Song Contest takes place on May 18, 20 and 22 in Rotterdam.