SWEDEN – Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl has made his first remarks on Russia’s exclusion from the competition.
Martin Österdahl has made his first public remarks on the EBU’s suspension of Russian members and their ineligibility to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.
“It was not entirely easy, because it is not Russia as a state that competes, it is the Russian member organization. And they had not really done anything wrong. They had sent good material and had not broken any rules. But it became unsustainable because we have a rule that says you must not bring disgrace over the competition.”
Russian broadcasters became the second to be kicked out of the competition in two years.
The decision to exclude Belarus from Eurovision last year came down to the fact that the Belarusians sought to utilize the competition as a platform to spread their political message.
First, Mr. Österdahl says that there have been conversations for years about whether Belarus and Russia should be removed from the competition.
“Honestly, it has been a discussion that has been going on for a very long time, but now it became very topical due to the invasion. Public service cooperation is based on a number of fundamental values that neither Belarus nor Russia live up to. It is primarily about freedom of expression.”
Regarding whether this year’s contest will reflect the current mood in Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Executive Supervisor added:
“We do not want to do political manifestations on stage, but we can not do the world’s biggest entertainment show without touching what all people are thinking about right now in Europe.”
In 2016, Martin Österdahl was the contest producer when SVT decided to add an interval act reflecting the migration crisis and the shutting of borders to individuals looking for a better life. In 2017, Martin Österdahl was the contest producer again.
an oikotimes original text