Spain and Azerbaijan to pay Eurovision fines

by Victor Hondal 509 views

The public broadcasters of Spain, RTVE, and Azerbaijan, Ictimai TV, have been found responsible for breaking the Eurovision Song Contest rules in the broadcast of the past edition of the competition. In the case of Spain, the broadcaster failed to air the second semifinal live and therefore provide a televote window for the Spanish viewers; and Azerbaijani television blurred out the Armenian voting number as well as distorted the TV signal when sisters Inga and Anush of Armenia were performing on stage.

The announcements made immediately after the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest claiming that the broadcasters of Spain and Azerbaijan would face sanctions over alleged "breach" of the Eurovision Song Contest rules have finally taken shape.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has placed a fine on the Azerbaijani broadcaster for blurring out the televote number for Armenia, a distortion of the TV signal while the Armenian representatives were performing on stage. According to Azerbaijan Head of Delegation the fine is 2,700 euro. The EBU, though, have not yet issued an official statement with the exact sums.

Mr Adil Karimli told APA: “I think this is a fair decision. According to the decision of the EBU, we have paid a fine of € 2,700. I want to note that the European Broadcasting Union is a very democratic organization and passes any decision after through, precise investigation. Therefore, there is not right to say that the decision is unfair, or a severe punishment. Ictimai TV participated in all the discussions and was the main part in the investigation. So, we respect the decision. I think such decisions are not a punishment, this is a serious approach of the EBU and its members to the existing laws and rules. The decision does not influence on Azerbaijan’s participation in the next contest. Azerbaijan will be represented at the Eurovision 2010".

The European Broadcasting Union is said to have threatened the country to exclude the broadcaster from the competition for up to three years if further infractions of the Eurovision Song Contest rules are made.

Spain, as a big-4 country, didn't have to participate in the semifinals, but the country had its voting rights on the second semifinal of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. TVE failed to broadcast the show live on its second channel, TVE 2, which was showing a tennis match at 21:00 CET, and started airing it some one hour later in a taped format. Therefore, the viewers couldn't cast their votes via televote and a back-up jury was used. The amount that TVE has to pay is yet unknown.

The EBU has clearly stated that "the organization will not tolerate violations of the rules – particularly political interference in the Eurovision Song Contest".