The EBU’s statement regarding Channel 31 and Kazakhstan’s participation in Eurovision

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 7,608 views

There has been much speculation regarding Kazakhstan’s potential partcipation at the Eurovision Song Contest off late. The Eurovision rumour mill has gone beserk in the wake of reports hinting on  Kazakhstan’s alleged Eurovision debut 2019. ESCToday has decided to investigate further and bring you the latest developments.

Local Kazakh media reported yesterday that Kazakh broadcaster Channel 31 had reached a deal in order to participate at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. also reported that the private broadcaster had initiated negotiations in order to become a member of the European Broadcasting Union. This news spread like wild fire throughout the Eurovision community yesterday.

In the aftermath, ESCToday decided to contact both the Kazakh broadcaster and the EBU in order to clarify the matter. Whilst the EBU responded to our query, we are yet awaiting an official statement from Channel 31.

The EBU gave ESCToday the following statement regarding this issue:

Channel 31 Kazakhstan has indeed expressed interest in becoming a Member of the EBU and hence participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.

However, since Channel 31 is outside the European Broadcasting Area and is also not a member of the Council of Europe, it is not eligible to become an active Member of the EBU.

Will we see Kazakhstan debut in Eurovision?

Hence after the EBU’s response, we can gather that Channel 31 Kazakhstan can indeed join the EBU family but only as an Associate Member and not an Active Member, as it is neither a member of the Council of Europe or in the EBA (European Broadcasting Area).

So in the scenario if Channel 31 is to become an Associate Member of the EBU, it would only be able to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest with an invite from the EBU.

We must not forget that Kazakh broadcaster Khabar Agency is also an associate EBU member and thus NOT ELIGIBLE to compete in the contest, unless the EBU decides to extend a special invite.

Kazakhstan has to be formally invited by the EBU to join the competition. It is entirely up to the EBU’s discretion to extend an invite to the country very much like in the case of Australia.

Khabar Agency aired all 3 Eurovision shows from Kyiv earlier this year and has broadcast Europe’s favourite television show many times. The country seems to love Eurovision as the broadcaster has given much exposure and coverage to the contest.

Has the EBU left the door open for a potential debut?

Last September, ESCToday contacted the EBU in order to find out if Kazakhstan and Khabar Agency would debut at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. The EBU gave ESCToday the following response:

Participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is limited to Members of the EBU or specially invited Associates. Associates of the EBU may be eligible to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, this is decided by the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, on a case by case basis. An announcement on the participating nations for the 2018 contest will be made in due course.

Does this mean that we could possibly see Kazakhstan join the Eurovision family any time soon, if its broadcaster is invited by the EBU? Does the EBU’s answer leave the door open for other Associate Members to participate in Eurovision in the future?