It has been reported today in Estonian media that Georgia has decided not to participate at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Russia. The decision comes during the current crisis between the two countries. According to the reports, the CEO of GPB, Georgia's public broadcaster, states that whilst respecting that the competition is non-political, he believes Russia should not be allowed to host the competition and that it cannot guarantee the safety of it's representatives.
Estonian media reports that the Georgian public broadcaster has announced they will withdraw from the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in protest against Russian politics.
The Chief Executive Officer of the broadcaster Levan Kubaneichvili said that "Eurovision cannot be held in a country which violates human rights and international law and does not respect democratic values". The Georgian broadcaster is also not sure that Russia can guarantee the safety of all participants according to the new portal of the Estonian broadcaster ERR.
Kubaneichvili mentioned in his letter to other broadcasters' leaders that Georgia respects the song contest as a non-political even which unites Europe and the world in music and creates cultural bridges.
The leader of the Georgian Eurovision project that they are afraid about the people who participate in Moscow. "From our angle Russia cannot guarantee the safety of our representatives and perhaps the safety of participants from other countries either. Maybe this is a good example for the whole world if you think about the situation, to think about the Russian aggression."
The news has not been confirmed by the EBU, who at this point, have told esctoday.com that they have no knowledge of an official statement from Georgian broadcaster GPB. There is also several months before a final decision on participation has to be made, and thus there is still time for the Georgian broadcaster to reconsider their position if these early reports are correct.
Whilst officially, no countries have yet been invited to participate in the competition, it appears at this stage that Georgia has decided to announce that it will not submit an entry when the EBU issues the rules and asks broadcasters to participate later this year.
There has been discussion in Estonia sparked by the Culture Minister about whether Estonia and the Baltic states should refuse to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, due to take place in Moscow next year following Dima Bilan's victory. His Lithuanian counterpart was quick to reply, saying "Spontaneous decisions might aggravate the efforts of diplomats to harmonize the conflict. It is not right time to speak about that".
esctoday.com hopes for a speedy resolution to the conflict and that peace will come to the region with speed. We would like to remind readers to avoid making political comments regarding the crisis. We kindly ask our members to keep reactions focussed on the Eurovision Song Contest.