Lebanese broadcaster Télé Liban has decided to change its official website in order to prevent the country from being disqualified from the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev. The last couple of days, criticism had been given when it appeared that Télé Liban mentioned 39 countries only and ignored Israel in the participant list. The European Broadcasting Union has given Télé Liban 24 hours to change the website.
The official Lebanese website for the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest www.lebanon.com/eurovision has been created by an independent company on request of Lebanese broadcaster Télé Liban and the team surrounding the 2005 Lebanese representative Aline Lahoud. At the moment we publish this article, the website still mentions the participation of 39 countries only, and ignores Israel.
Télé Liban has been given 24 hours to change their website, told Kjell Ekholm of the European Broadcasting Union to Danish broadcaster DR. Esctoday.com thereupon contacted Lebanon about the situation. As we have been informed Télé Liban is about to prevent Lebanon from a disqualification. Tonight they have decided to change the concept of the website. The names of the participating countries will be deleted and replaced by a link to the official Eurovision Song Contest website eurovision.tv. The website will be completed with sight seeing pictures from Lebanon.
Lebanon is still in a cold war with Israel and the Lebanese government forbids any mention of Israel in everything that concerns Lebanon too. The company that is responsible for the website is just following the Lebanese laws and a mention of Israel would offend against those laws. The question however remains what will happen on 19th and 21st May when Télé Liban will be broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest in which Israel will be participating too…
“I don't know if the organisers will disqualify Lebanon, but I hope and wish that in these very critical and sad moments Lebanon is going through, politics don't influence the Eurovision Song Contest, nor the organisers.” says Jad Rahbani, composer of the 2005 Lebanese entry, in a reaction to esctoday.com. As he earlier stated in an interview: “If music were the language of people, peace would have conquered the world.”
Edit at 22:30 CET: www.lebanon.com/eurovision has been updated and the participant list excluding Israel has been removed.