Editorial : Time for the EBU to amend the Eurovision Song Contest rule (1.2.1a)?


Time for the EBU to amend the Eurovision Song Contest rule (1.2.1a)?

In a series of articles that we will be delivering over the coming weeks, we will be looking at the lessons that can be taken away from Eurovision 2016 as the aftermath of the wonderful contest has looked more like a Jackson Pollock painting!

As opposed to beating the EBU with a shiny sparkling glitter rod (no doubt available in your local IKEA store) we think it’s better to suggest practical steps that the EBU could and should implement. They are always asking for the public to help strengthen the contest with innovation so we will be giving them our suggestions that ain’t rocket science or will burst the bank!


Jamala – (the deserving winner of Eurovision 2016 and I predicted it way back in February) has had to suffer the indignation of people calling for her victory to be stripped for a variety of reasons from the public to allegedly Broadcasters saying they will not participate next year. People let’s build that bridge and get over it! Jamala won fair and square and we look forward to Eurovision 2017 in Ukraine.

However our first suggestion to the EBU is to amend the Eurovision Song Contest rule (1.2.1a).  This for Jamala must have been a heart sinking moment when she had to admit that she had performed a version of ‘1944’ over a year ago in 2015. She had to take to social media to defend herself and then the EBU were forced into making a statement. Two suggestions for the EBU here that are simple and cost ZERO and will avoid any confusion going forward. What we saw in the wake of the victory of Jamala and SVT’s stunning hosting of the contest, was that the International Mainstream press jumped on this story as opposed to celebrating an emotional song winning the contest.

Now while the EBU states that rule 1.2.1a

“The Eurovision Song Contest rule (1.2.1a) states that entries must not have been commercially released before September 1 exists to make sure that the Contest can welcome new compositions each year, and that every song can compete on a level playing field. The purpose of the rule is to prevent wide distribution of any song that might give it an unfair advantage in the competition the following May. In the past, songs that had been publicly available before the deadline, but had not been accessible by a wide audience, had been granted permission to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest by the Reference Group.”

Our Suggestion is to make this rule going forward an absolute regardless of how many (or few) people may have heard the song or whether the song was given a general release prior to September 1st. This rule only serves to put the EBU and future artists at risk of being questioned into the validity of an entry and takes away ANY decision having to go to the EBU’s Reference Committee. Belarus had to amend their entry in 2011 under this rule while Ukraine were not this year. Why would the EBU put themselves in a position of having to make a subjective judgement call?

How many views of a song will call for a song having to be changed going forward? All subjective and if one is to put on their legal hat, leaves the EBU potentially being taken to task and court over a future ruling. Why drag the credibility and reputation of the Brand of the Eurovision Song Contest through the mire like has happened this week?

Instead the EBU should clearly insist that all broadcasters adhere to the September 1st release date and that the broadcasters vet the songs, songwriters and performers to ensure that they have not performed or released their songs before the official competition date. These days it is so easy to search on-line for a song, so this rule should be easily enforced and never see such a spectacle like this week happen again. If 99% of songs comply with the September 1st date then make sure that ALL comply going forward. No need to involve a reference group and ask them to make a subjective judgement that leaves the EBU over to further scrutiny and embarrassment. #Simple! #MakeThatChange


Secondly – One has to suggest to the EBU that going forward that opposed to releasing a half page written statement clearing a newly crowned winner of Eurovision, they really should have made a video affirmation and clarification of their position like they did in the wake of the on-line petition demanding the overruling of the contest’s results. It is important for the public to see the Seniors of the EBU standing by their rulings and the welfare of the contestants that make up their biggest and most watched event of the year. I am sure Jamala would have liked to have seen a video response supporting her from Jon Ola Sand as his job is much more that telling us that the votes are ready to be called out. At the end of the day this is EuroVISION so don’t be camera-shy EBU. No need to be a faceless organisation. Remember out of sight out of mind and we don’t want that!

So our first suggestion for the EBU on how to strengthen their brand and remove the chance of another damaging post Eurovision week like this one going forward is to enforce the September 1st release date for ALL countries and show the broadcasters the best practices for ensuring their acts have not infringed on these rulings.

This seems to be only a recent problem facing the EBU so let’s stop it once and for all.

What do you think? Is the subjective nature of rule 1.2.1a something that the EBU can live without? If 99% of entries comply then why not make it one rule for all?


Author/Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall

Source : Eurovision Ireland



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