Östgruppens (Swedish Human Rights Organisation) Chairman – Martin Uggla – is calling SVT to withdraw Belarus from Eurovision 2013. The “We Are One” concept of Eurovision 2013 is being called into question by the organisation. Uggla is claiming that the Belarus National Television Broadcaster is part of the larger political regime that he sees as being “repressive – They are working very actively to discourage pluralism and freedom of expression. Democratically minded journalists have virtually no chance of working in the television company”.
The head of SVT – Eva Hamilton – said that she “sees the Belarusian state television’s membership of the EBU as a way to prevent an unwanted isolation of the country’s democratic forces.” Östgruppen have refuted this point of view and argues ” It’s just such isolation that the public broadcaster is used to, in that it consistently denies independent voices access to the television medium, both in the public debate as the entertainment area. If SVT and other members of the EBU will continue to co-operate with Belarusian state television – Thus instead there is isolation of the democratic forces” – according to Uggla.
Östgruppen have called for SVT to take the lead and has proposed that Ms Hamilton in the next EBU conference raise the creation of a “Set/Code of Morals” that all EBU members must follow for them to stay in the Broadcasting Union. Ms Hamilton is being urged to take the first steps to create such a list by Martin Uggla.
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This is not a new debate and was raised last year in Baku at the EBU Press Conference. Further attention was drawn on the subject of Human Rights when Loreen attended a Human Rights meeting in Baku and was questioned on it by a Reuters Journalist at the Semi Finalist winners Press Conference. Also Anke – Eurovision host 2011 – while calling in the German Results made reference to freedom of choice and how Europe was now looking at Azerbaijan.
Have things changed one year on? We want to hear your thoughts.
Author/Website co-founder and Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall
(Source debatt.svt.se, photograph courtesy of vk.com and YouTube Videos courtesy of embedded owners)