The European Broadcasting Union, organising body of the Eurovision Song Contest, has tonight told esctoday.com that the rules governing the national juries to be used as 50% of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest result will be formalised later this week. Should the rules state that the jurors' identities must not be revealed until after they have submitted their votes, Germany would need to select a new jury.
Tonight, esctoday.com received the following statement in response to the questions we put to thegoverning body of the Eurovision Song Contestyesterday:
"The exact criteria on how to compile the jury for the Final of the 54th Eurovision Song Contest will be formalised by the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group in the course of this week. The criteria will then be distributed to the participating broadcasters at the Heads of Delegation meeting in Moscow on 16-17 March. Until then, no juries can be officially selected or registered with the EBU".
The statement suggests that the rules for the selection and those governing the national juries have not yet been set, and that the Germany jury cannot be accepted. Although NDR have not actually broken any rules, they appear to have jumped the gun by makingthe names of their jurors public before the EBU confirms the rules and as such, may have invalidated their jury according to the rules that will be confirmed later this week.
The publication of the five jurors yesterday on German national broadcaster, NDR's website caused controversy on two fronts. Firstly, because of the possibility that the jurors could be contacted in order to influence their votes. In the past, the Eurovision Song Contest rules clearly stated that the identity of jury members could not be made public until after the Eurovision Song Contest final.
As well as the possibility of jurors being contacted in order to influence their voting the publication of the German jurors raised the issue of potential conflicts of interest. Jeanette Biedermann, named as one of the five jurors in Germany, is a singer songwriter signed to Universal Records. The record label is competiting in the competition, managing the United Kingdom entry and is also involved in other countries, including Sweden.
To avoid potential conflicts of interests, the EBU may include a rule that jurors must have no connections to any competing parties (including record label, broadcasters, artists or other parties) at the Eurovision Song Contest. This would ensure that there are no conflicts of interests or potential for any accusations to be made after the voting. This is the first time in the 54 year history Eurovision Song Contest that music industry professionals have been used as national jurors.