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EBU Threatens Macedonian Broadcaster Over Debt; Eurovision At Risk


It wouldn't be the first time a country has lost rights to Eurovision, the annual music performance festival traditionally watched by a television audience of an estimated 200 million people.

Macedonia's national broadcaster, MRT, faces serious sanctions, including losing the right to broadcast and participate in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, due to mounting debts.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said on October 26 that it was cutting off access to MRT because of mounting debts.

"Unfortunately, Macedonian Radio Television no longer has access to our services until they pay off their debt," Claire Rainford, EBU's senior communications officer, said in a statement.

Rainford did not say how indebted MRT was, but local media have quoted anonymous sources from the Macedonian state broadcaster's Program Council as saying MRT may be as much as 22 million euros ($26 million) in arrears to "domestic and foreign trustees."

Officials from MRT were not immediately available for comment.

It wouldn't be the first time a country has lost rights to Eurovision, the annual music performance festival traditionally watched by a television audience of an estimated 200 million people.

Last year, just weeks before the contest, the EBU withdrew member services for Romania's public broadcaster due to unpaid debt.

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