Belarus banned from Eurovision over song lyrics

Belarus has been disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest for twice fielding songs deemed to have broken the rules of the competition, the BBC reports.

The country was told to submit a new song two weeks ago over concerns their entry had a political subtext.

But the re-submission, by the same group, has now also been deemed inappropriate by contest organisers.

The band, Galasy ZMesta, is known for mocking anti-government protests.

Large-scale demonstrations took place across Belarus last year after Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in a disputed presidential election.

I Will Teach You, a song by Galasy ZMesta, featured lyrics such as “I will teach you to toe the line”, prompting a backlash from opposition figures.

Many worried that allowing such a song would legitimise Mr Lukashenko’s violent suppression of protesters.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organisers of Eurovision, agreed the lyrics were inappropriate and ordered that Belarus re-submit their entry if they wanted to take part in May.

Mr Lukashenko weighed in on the controversy himself.

“They are starting to press us on all fronts. Even at Eurovision, I see,” he said.

“We’ll make another song,” he added. “You see that this is all politicised.”

Belarus went back to the drawing board, but their re-submission has now also been rejected.

In a statement, the EBU said it had “carefully scrutinised the new entry to assess its eligibility to compete.”

However, “it was concluded that the new submission was also in breach of the rules of the competition that ensure the Contest is not instrumentalised or brought into disrepute”.

“Regrettably, Belarus will not be participating in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in May,” it added.

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