The EBU scandal saga: we know who’s guilty!
Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece)
EDITORIAL – For few years there are underground discussions within the EBU, delegations, press and media members regarding the transparency of the contest. The team of oikotimes.com is fully aware of what is going on and who’s investigated and for what reason. Though after two years the picture starts to clear up a lot and new big questions have risen.
Besides what we can’t reveal at this moment we all experienced the Vienna scandal with Jarmo Siim asking members of the press to pressure EBU through a media-war against the Swedish entry. The fact that Jarmo Siim did this was proven through a video that Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet posted, proving that Jon Ola Sand lied when in the press conference he said that the message send by Jarmo Siim was fake. The scandal with the choreography of Måns risen questions not to mention the gossips in the press centre regarding the extremely close ties of Christer Björkman with Jon Ola Sand.
The EBU though started the big in-transparent issues since 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Back then the split results appeared in form of rankings and not in form of points making us all believe that Denmark wasn’t the winner of the contest in either juries or tele voting. In 2013 Azerbaijan accused for voting fraud but still no one dared to speak about how the Nordic juries did their best to low-rank the Azeri entry which became a big favourite after the second semifinal.
In later 2013, EBU leaks their letter to the Russian broadcasters where the reference group expresses their concerns about the gay rights and security in case Russia win the contest.The problem was that EBU didn’t leak to the press that the Russian national broadcasters had replied to this letter assuring the reference group that there is not going to be any problem in case Russia wins the contest.
In June 2015 international media and press started dealing with Sietse Bakker’s contract with EBU. Mr Bakker got lots of money as a contractor to the EBU to manage the web services of the contest plus a huge fee to consult them, something which few weeks ago Jon Ola Sand explained to NDR as “it was the only option as we didn’t know much about the know-how of the contest”.
EBU refuses to respond to media demands for detailed televoting results (asking for numbers and phone call statistics arguing that this might cause security issues and possible future voting probe). EBU never releases detailed and verified data about TV ratings, announcing just 200 million viewers for the contest with no logical base especially since you cannot count how many people watch the event in outdoor events or clubs / bars.
No answer is given why eurovision.tv is using volunteers (unpaid most of them) and where the revenues from YouTube (reaching 1 billion views) are going although Mr Bakker’s company gets around 400,000 Euros for maintaining the web services. Mr Bakker’s company is applying now for the public tender in which EBU forced to proceed after many protests over internal selection of the Dutch company years ago. Mr Bakker’s company already breached the EBU rules first by announcing his bidding something the rules of EBU don’t allow and second that he applied with his newly established company Scrn (screen) which doesn’t count 3 years of existence in order to comply with the EBU tender rules.
EBU has the basic rule not commenting any argument with its employees which led to firing Kath Lockett and Vlad Yakovlev who accused EBU for non transparent procedures and claiming the events are no longer honest and promising, when EBU views for freedom of speech, democratic procedures. Not to mention that Jon Ola Sand (from Norway) is appointed responsible for JESC as well without doing nothing to bring the Nordic countries back to the contest (plus we had Sweden withdrawing this year) when at least Mr Yakovlev brought 17 countries to this year’s event. EBU also doesn’t explain where the funds of the national broadcasters go. They don’t even give any explanation to the broadcasters themselves!
But in the end whether we the media, the fans are scared to open our mouth because we can be OUT of the accreditation system (my personal example in Malta) and also been humiliated by having my picture in the security bench saying “if you see Mr Konstantopoulos call security” causes problems. Unfortunately I don’t have the money background to sure them as this is total legal breach of human rights and direct humiliation of my personality. The problem though will never be solved unless the NATIONAL BROADCASTERS protest. No delegation dares to make any complaint. In off the record discussions with heads of delegations they all laugh with the EBU when they allowed the copycat song of Sweden to enter the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest not to mention with the Australian entry in the 2015 Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
People start talking, there is definitely something huge here and it has to do with money and contracts. The Eurovision Song Contest of 2015 was won weirdly by Italy in the tele voting, but the country (usually in the top five of the juries) came 6th in the 2015 edition while THE TOP FAVOURITE. EBU annulled the Montenegrin and FYR Macedonian juries but they didn’t cancel the votes of the Australian jury, member of which stated he has close ties with Polina Gagarina’s team, not to mention a jury that specifically ranked Italy as 25th!!!
EBU rules say that they can deny accreditation to anyone without giving a reason. Says who? With what human based right can you exclude someone from the media / press / delegation without giving an answer back? This sounds very undemocratic and who gives them the right not answering – or stating “no comment” whenever they want to avoid answers? Well the guilty is one: THE BROADCASTERS allowed them to use this and never complained. We had enough, things must change NOW!
There are dark pages here. Start clearing up and give detailed information to the press. I urge the national broadcasters to start / demand for answers. By surprise we recently realised that despite the fact that EBU is dealing with national broadcasters and supposedly answers to them, in reality EBU is a private company.
If EBU has a statement on my editorial, which is completely my personal view, we are here to host their answer. In the meantime this editorial expresses me and not (necessarily) my team. Unless they give complete information about 2013 voting and information about tele voting figures and TV ratings, explanations about specific jury voting and information about which BIG 5 is not paying what the other BIG members pay as well, we will consider the future results in question.
and the story goes on… soon! and hopefully the fan sites will stop been scared and start publishing this kind of stories, after all Eurovision is made out of public funds and national broadcasters, which means US, THE PEOPLE.