After the turmoils created by yesterday’s decision of the Security Services of Ukraine to apply travel ban to the Russian representative Julia Samoilova, in Ukraine, the EBU decided to bend the rules and give the opportunity for a remote performance through satellite.
EBU are you sure?
The EBU released a statement after today’s urgent meeting of the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest. It follows below:
Taking into consideration that this ban might be upheld by the Ukrainian authorities, and in order to maintain the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU has been working hard to find a solution to this situation and has taken the unprecedented move to offer Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia to still participate in this year’s Contest by performing live in the 2nd Semi Final via satellite. Should the Russian entry qualify for the Grand Final the same solution would apply. This is something that has never been done before in the Contest’s 60 year history but, in the spirit of Eurovision’s values of inclusivity, and this year’s theme of Celebrate Diversity, the decision has been taken to ensure that all 43 entrants are given the opportunity to participate.
Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand said: “We are continuing our dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities with the ambition to have all artists present to perform in host city, Kyiv, which is, of course, our preferred option. It is imperative that the Eurovision Song Contest remains free from politics and as such, due to the circumstances surrounding Julia’s travel ban, we have felt it important to propose a solution that transcends such issues. We have offered Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia to perform live via satellite as it is the EBU’s intention that every broadcaster that has chosen to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest does so, as has been the case for all previous events in the contest’s history.”
Frank-Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, expressed his hope though, that the political leadership of Ukraine will not implement the travel ban and find a solution in line with the contest’s slogan, Celebrate Diversity.
Who’s holding the hot potato?
So let’s put things straight. Since the reason Julia Samoilova cannot enter the country has to do with the Ukrainian law, the EBU has no word on it. That’s true but what does history tell us?
In the recent past the EBU interfered with governmental decisions, such as in Greece when the government decided to shut down the public broadcaster ERT.
EBU leaders visited the Greek capital back in the day to tackle ERT shut down. Going against the governmental decision, the EBU provided all the means to ERT to broadcast their stream. The point here is that when there is a will, there is a way to work things.
Respecting the values of inclusivity and the Celebration of Diversity, this decision is not ensuring the entrants’ opportunity to participate, rather than throwing the “hot potato” on Russia’s court. A remote participation through satellite, is giving more ground to excluding an artist rather than enhancing inclusivity as stated.