COLOGNE, GERMANY – The Russian anti-gay law and the petition of Belarus against the Austrian ESC participant Conchita Wurst have reheated the political debate about the Eurovision Songcontest. How to secure participants, fans and journalists of the world’s largest music competition in case one of these countries would win in Copenhagen and thus organise the event in 2015.
Thomas Schreiber, ARD entertainment coordinator and Eurovision manager at NDR, talked about the approach within the ARD, one of these countries should gain an ESC.
Mr. Schreiber, the attention of the EBU for the political circumstances of an ESC has grown considerably. If the demand of the political public sphere, such as a half year ago in terms of Azerbaijan, counted the political costs of a Eurovision in a country, not an overload of the Eurovision the same?
Thomas Schreiber: These are two sides of the same coin: Of course, the ESC does not take place in a vacuum, but in a concrete political and social environment, and to behave artists, broadcasters, journalists and fans. Secondly, the ESC is indeed the largest global live music show, which is broadcast in over 50 countries, but it is “only” an entertainment program, which can not solve the problems or issues that are not also solves the policy.
How political is the ESC? The final in Baku sparked a broad public discussion. You have said an interview before the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku said that the ARD will not participate in an ESC in Minsk, Belarus. What would be the practice if Belarus or about Russia win the ESC? Would almost automatically the next placed the unproblematic countries are included in the final plans with?
Schreiber: We – that is, the Reference Group – will discuss this when get to that point.
If your statement, when it comes to Belarus and your wish them not taking part, is there a possibility of influencing the things? As being Germany as a big 5 contender a none participation would be a risk for the Eurovision.
Schreiber: My words in a previous interview were: “If Belarus win, I would ask the question within the ARD whether Germany should participate in the Eurovision Songcontest in Belarus being a dictatorship. And to you I said: “If Belarus would win, would I like to be there in a clear dictatorship No?.” This means: As ARD is dealing with the question of whether one at a discharge of the ESC in a possible victory Belarus is there or not, needs to be discussed in the specific case within the ARD. This includes of course too, that in the absence of ARD, ZDF not jump in at once …
How exactly are the security guarantees for the ESC and the fans? If there were penalties or sanctions, if they have not held proved in retrospect?
Schreiber: sanctions are not included in the rules. You also need to distinguish what the broadcaster (ie, the EBU member) is responsible and for what government bodies, yes.
Would your life as ARD head of the ESC less stressful, the ESC would take place only under the classical ESC countries – without the former Soviet and now in terms of security and individual freedom sense questionable countries?
The ESC colleagues and I are delighted that almost all the channels in Europe take part in the Eurovision since the fall of the Wall here.
Not only in this country the fans are quite curious as to what the German preliminary show is concerned. When may this with information about the 13 March expect in Cologne? Later this year?