EBU issues (another) statement following ongoing Eurovision artist abuse

Eurovision Song Contest 2024 stage design. CREDIT: Eurovision
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The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has today issued a statement following a surge in online abuse and harassment of artists taking part in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest.

This year’s contest takes place during ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. A decision by the EBU to allow the Israeli broadcaster, Kan, to participate has sparked fiery debate among fans and critics alike.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is a confederation of public service media entities. In today’s statement, the organisation seeks to stress the core mission of the Eurovision Song Contest: to celebrate diversity through the universal language of music. That said, it’s clear from the hellsite that is X (other social media pits are available) many will argue art is inherently political … especially when national broadcasters representing contentious states get involved.

Ambassadors of music and cultural harmony

EBU Deputy Director General Jean Philip De Tender
Jean Philip De Tender

EBU Deputy Director General Jean Philip De Tender issued a statement back in January making clear that the performers competing in the annual light entertainment show are not emissaries armed with political agendas, but ambassadors of music and cultural harmony. As a fan website, our very own Mr Phil has made clear the OnEurope position.

It’s impossible to claim the competition we love  exists in a world devoid of political tensions. The EBU has faced similar challenges before – with Russia and Belarus – both of which are no longer members of the broadcasting organisation. The exclusion of  Russian broadcasters in 2022 was based on a clear breach of the EBU’s membership obligations and public service media values—a scenario not paralleled by Kan’s current standing.

I get how some followers of Eurovision will feel the situations are more directly comparable than I have suggested. Critics may argue that this article glosses over deeper political implications of broadcasting decisions.

The EBU’s decision to accept the song ‘Hurricane’ submitted by Kan for this year’s competition was made after careful scrutiny, adhering strictly to the competition’s rules.

Fan divide

Amidst calls for boycotts and protests, there seems a fan divide with neither side willing to listen to what the other might have to say. As a fan of the show since 1972, I respect anyone who feels they serve their conscience best by boycotting the event. It has brought me so much joy – often in tough times and I will be watching. When it’s my turn, I’ll review the Israeli song, just like I’m reviewing the 36 other competing entries. I’m not doing this to indirectly dismisses the ethical considerations of a boycott, but because it’s a song taking part in a competition and nobody gives two hoots what I think about it, really.

And yes, I am also acutely aware that some readers might interpret this as a dismissal of their valid concerns around broadcasting decisions that have deep political implications.

EbuI appreciate that some of our readers will feel that I am downplaying the significance of the political context, while others may think this article (and the EBU statement) gives too much credence to the arguments for excluding Israel from the contest. Many of our readers are deeply invested in the political aspects of the Contest.

For me, the Eurovision Song Contest is a celebration of music, a bridge across cultures, and most importantly, a testament to the unifying power of art. Perhaps I’m overly idealistic or naive to think that art can be entirely separated from politics, especially in contexts as charged as the current one. 

The Eurovision community includes members who believe the contest should more actively address and reflect political realities, and they may feel that both the EBU and this commentary are too cautious.

OnEurope: We never forget you have a choice.

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1 month ago

Actually I think your article struck just the right tone.
If I may “Good job”