GENEVA – According to the German national broadcaster the European Broadcasting Union has strengthen the rules for the Eurovision Song Contest to avoid problems such as the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, leading to banning the Russian participant but also to ensure that the host country will work on time to satisfy the needs of the event.
The controversy surrounding the participation or non-participation of Russian interpreter Julia Samoylova in Kiev has prompted the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to draw clear boundaries regarding a possible political instrumentalization of the song contest. In the newly added section 1.1.4 of the regulations (“Non-political event”), it is now clear: “The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event. All participating broadcasters, including the host broadcaster, must ensure that within their respective delegations and teams, all necessary steps are taken to ensure that the Eurovision Song Contest is under no circumstances politicized and / or instrumentalised”.
In addition, the new section states: “All participating broadcasters, including the broadcasting corporation, must ensure that organizations, institutions, political or other, companies, brands, products or services are neither advertised directly or indirectly, be mentioned.” This applies both to the show itself and to all official venues and venues outside the hall (opening ceremony, press center, Eurovision Village, etc.). Violation of this rule may lead to disqualification.
With regard to the entry ban imposed on Julia Samoylova by the Ukrainian authorities for a performance on the Crimean peninsula, for which the singer has been submitted via Russia, the EBU wants to prevent the banning of individual participants for political provocations. It is therefore up to the participating broadcasting corporation to ensure that “no selected participant and no delegation member due to his / her past life gives the authorities of the host country a reason to impose an entry ban on him / her due to national laws”. However, this could prove to be a problem, for example, in countries that refuse entry because of their HIV status.
In the face of the allegation of lack of objectivity, which has been voiced against individual juries or jurors in the past, the new regulations clarify that the jury members should “use their entire professional abilities and experience during the evaluation, without having as a criteria nationality, gender or personal preference”, although the rule still remains a bit vague. It remains unchanged that no juror is allowed to express his judgment or value intention before or during the show as well as against other jury members.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2018 rules set the downward pressure on the massive delays that the EBU had to contend with in Kyiv. The hosting broadcaster will always comply with the deadlines agreed with the EBU for a proper, timely and efficient implementation of the Eurovision Song Contest and follow the instructions of the EBU. If this is not the case, the breach of contract will result in the EBU entrusting another broadcaster with the performance of the event. However, the regulations do not reveal the actual date when such a thing can be implemented in practice.