Macedonian Radio and Television’s “Board of Responsibility”(MRTBR) held a meeting on the 19th of March, after public’s reactions tо the video clip of this year’s North Macedonia’s representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, Vasil Garvanliev and аt his statements.

The Board determined that MRT has completely met the internal procedures when applying at the European Broadcasting Union – EBU for the international song contest.

The decision to select Vasil Garvanliev to be North Macedonia’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 event was by internal selection, according to the model of one representative/one song, as a result of the recommendations and suggestions from the debate organized by MRT, with participation of various composers, singers, journalists, authors, participated.

A public call was issued for the authors in the country and abroad and from the bids the song with Garvanliev as a singer for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 event in Roterdan was chosen. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 was canceled by the organizer, the EBU.

“After our interest to participate this year, MRT applied again and it selected the same singer for its own representative at Eurovision Song Contest 2021, following the example of the 24 countries participants, that also decided to send the same representatives. In order to maintain continuity, the same working group was tasked to issue a new public call to authors in the country and abroad. From all the received songs, MRT’s music journalists and the singer himself agreed that the song “Here I Stand” would be the most appropriate choice for a composition that would represent MRT at Eurovision Song Contest 2021,” states the press release.

There was an upheaval among the general public because of two frames in the video that were deemed as problematic.

“According to working groups’ report, here we have a specific perception of the the art work by Žaneta Vangeli, which could be seen in these two frames and has caused an association with a flag of a foreign country. After the public’s reactions, the video was withdrawn and re-cut. Regarding the second contraversial moment, Garvanliev’s statements that he has double citizenship, the working group stresses that it is a part of an interview that is older more than a year and which has come to the public attentiotn these days. In accordance with the EBU’s regulations – the public service has no right to discredit anyone on belief, national or any other ground and that it has a complete freedom to select a singer to be a representative, regardless of his statehood. In reality, cases such as this one were plenty at Eurosong” explains MRT.

MRT also stated that the potential cancellation of the performance would cause financial and other implications on MRT and it would drastically derail Macedonia’s reputation and the reputation of the Public service internationally.

“Still, taking all of this account, especially the polarization in our society, the Commission suggests that the public service should reconsider its participations in international cultural events,” states the press release.

On the other hand, the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva had summon the Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of North Macedonia in Sofia, Vladimir Krstevski at a meeting since “Bulgarian diplomats have expressed deep confusion and disapointment by the big negative campaign in North Macedonia against Vasil Garvanliev.”

The Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that Bulgaria will continue to invest all the necessary efforts in accordance with the principles of the international law in order to protect the rights of the Bulgarian citizens and the citizens who have a Buglarian identity wherever they are worldwide.”