Tel Aviv 2019

Australia: SBS rejects boycott letter

Australia’s broadcaster SBS has declared they do not support the calls for a Eurovision boycott, as rumours swirl over their 2019 selection.

We got Eurovision love and a boycott rejection

Many notable names from across the arts of media and culture had as previously reported, signed a petition calling for a boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel. Amongst this list were also names from the Eurovision family, as well as household names in Australia. Supporters of the petition from Australia included L-FRESH The LION who was part of their national jury earlier this year in Lisbon.

However SBS has today issued a statement reported by The Australian Jewish News denouncing the boycott. Speaking to the paper, SBS declared that they will continue to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest. Informed by a source, it was stated that:

SBS has been the home of Eurovision for 35 years because of the way the contest celebrates diversity and brings different cultures together, united in a common passion for music.

SBS Spokesperson

Australia to use national final selection in 2019?

Whilst SBS have yet to confirm their 2019 participation, interesting rumours have started to surface. Could Australia be considering switching from its typical internal selection process to a national final? Speculation was fuelled by a tweet that surfaced overnight:

Although it should be noted that SBS CEO Michael Ebeid, who was instrumental in increasing Australia’s involvement with Eurovision, is due to depart the network. However the HoD for Australia, Paul Clarke has often stated his long term ambition to hold a national final. Admiring the success that has built Sweden’s Melodifestivalen.

Other broadcasters have their say

Further to this, Germany and Denmark have also issued statements on the boycott. Expressing his view that Eurovision is about unity and should be a non-political construct, the Head of Entertainment for NDR went on to add that:

The Israeli broadcaster has the right and duty to host the Eurovision Song Contest with Netta’s victory in Lisbon. We look forward to ESC 2019 in Israel.

Thomas Schreiber, Head of Entertainment (NDR)

Similarly Denmark’s Head of Entertainment at DR has also reiterated the stance that Eurovision should be not used as a political tool. Also denouncing the letter, Jan Lagermand Lundme stated:

Eurovision is about bringing Europe together, and therefore we are in. It does not matter which host country it may be, they are the hosts.

Jan Lagermand Lundme, Head of Entertainment (DR)

Currently both broadcasters are well underway with their selections. Next week submissions for Denmark’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix will close. Following this the entered songs will be narrowed down to the remaining ten progressing to the live national final.

After achieving third place in Lisbon, the hunt is now on for Germany to find Michael Schulte’s successor. Over 1000 musicians originally applied for Unser Lied 2019. These have been shortlisted to a remaining group of 20. Testing their skills will be a series of workshops before the select few will advance to the live final. Meanwhile the broadcaster has been working on submitted songs. Additionally a songwriting camp will be held in November to create more possible entries.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to see Australia use a national final? Which artists should be considered? Let us know in the comments and on social media @ESCXTRA

Lisa Bird

My first Eurovision memory was watching 1994 as a hatchling. I've been tapping my talons to the bops and bangers from Europe and beyond ever since! I finally spread my wings to attending the contest in Lisbon 2018 and am now a regular at many events and national finals - especially my regular nest at Eesti Laul.

Comments on Australia: SBS rejects boycott letter

  • Russell Ward

    I’m not surprised by SBS and other broadcasters not to respect the boycott at this time. I wonder how bad Israel’s treatment of Palestinians needs to get before they do start respecting it. I’m at least confident that BDS will get a big boost with its campaigning around this Eurovision until it happens.

  • Luke Penwald

    Germany did not finish 3rd as this article states but 4th.

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