This week Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet reported allegations of vote-buying at Eurovision 2013. Their article source was allegedly a country delegation member. Our friends at 12Points.TV have compiled a timeline of events here . In the articles by Skånska Dagbladet, they had highlighted how Malta has awarded Azerbaijan 12 points for the last 4 contests. PBS (Maltese Broadcaster) have today openly commented on the claims made by the Swedish Newspaper.
According to the Skånska Dagbladet’s source, “the jury voting is particularly problematic, as it allowed for the manipulation of the Eurovision results through vote exchanges and outright vote-buying.”
The allegations centre mainly around Azerbaijan, Eurovision winners 2011, and at the same time the island of Malta earned itself a flippant comment in the article for their recent voting patterns.
Both The Mirror (UK Newspaper) and Yahoo noted “Malta’s preference for Azerbaijan in past years, and while both also noted that the Azerbaijanis are accused of offering to bribe jury members with “enough money to live off for a year” in exchange for their votes, Yahoo explicitly states that they bribed Maltese delegates”. See Here
PBS CEO, Anton Attard noted that “claims that Malta was involved in wrongdoing appeared to be the result of wild extrapolation from the initial claims. (Made by Skånska Dagbladet)
Mr Attard went further to say that the Maltese Jury members have been contacted and strongly refute the claims of jury wrongdoing. What Skånska Dagbladet failed to mention is that the Maltese Jury have only once awarded Azerbaijan top marks (back in 2011). This means that on the other occasions that Malta awarded 12 points to Azerbaijan, thiis was due to strong public tele-voting (that the EBU police with their technical partners).
What was failed to be mentioned by Skånska Dagbladet is the fact that Azerbaijan’s Eurovision representatives visit Malta most years and perform on the country’s top tv shows. Farid Mammadov (Azerbaijan’s Eurovision Representative this year) spent a full weekend on the small Mediterranean island promoting his song “Hold Me” – like many of his predecessors.
Mr Attard rightly pointed out that “neither PBS nor anyone else in Malta has any control over the tele-voting results: the process is controlled directly by the EBU”.
Malta may have a small population but they are by far one of the most active Eurovision participants and would have a sizable tele-vote each year. This in itself would be very difficult to manipulate considering the EBU’s safety nets.
The EBU has come out and spoken against the claims made by Skånska Dagbladet – see here
This story is sure to run for some time to come. At present it is speculative at best – until Skånska Dagbladet’s source is prepared to go public or provide concrete physical evidence to the contrary.
Author/Website co-founder and Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall
Source : Skånska Dagbladet, The Morror, Yahoo, 12Points.tv, Maltese Independent and Eurovision Ireland