The Scoop

Australian broadcaster SBS threating to sue BDS movement

Pro-Palestinian group, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Australia (BDS) has used the SBS name and logo to promote its protest for Australia to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest which will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Australian broadcaster SBS will not be boycotting the 2019 contest, as they begin preparations for their first ever Eurovision national final however BDS, who do not want Australia to take part in the contest which will be held in Israel, are continuing their petitions and have now illegally used SBS branding across leaflets they are using to promote the cause.

The red leaflets which read “Boycott Eurovision 2019; Don’t Celebrate Israel’s Apartheid Crimes” have not gone down well with the national broadcaster who have sent the group a legal letter asking them to “immediately removed SBS’s trademark from any… websites, social media pages and any other marketing and promotional material”.ย 

“Common practice for organisations”

An SBS spokesperson have told Guardian Australia that,

As is common practice for organisations managing and protecting their brand, SBS is in contact with this organisation about their unauthorised use of the SBS logo

SBS spokesperson, speaking to Guardian Australia

Despite letters being sent to the group, the legal dispute remains unresolved between the broadcaster and the pro-Palestinian group.

Why is BDS petitioning?

With Australia appearing amongst the list of the 42 competing countries in Tel Aviv, it seems that BDS Australia doesn’t believe that SBS’s decision to take part is the right decision, because of “Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians and the theft of their lands and the discrimination they face inside Israel”. They went on to add that they have launched their protest to also “stand in solidarity with the Palestinian musicians and artists”. ย 

A petition that has been launched by the group has received 2,000 signatures, however SBS do not seem keen to abandon what will be their fifth appearance at the contest stating that,

SBS has been broadcasting Eurovision for 35 years and will continue to do so because of the spirit of the event in bringing people and cultures together in a celebration of diversity and inclusion through music.

SBS spokesperson, speaking to Guardian Australia

Not the first boycott rejected by SBS

Back in September, many notable names from the arts of media and culture signed a petition calling for the competing Eurovision broadcasters to boycott the Tel Aviv-hosted contest. The letter was signed by several Australian names including L-FRESH The LION, who was a member of the national jury of Australia earlier this year in Lisbon. This call to boycott the contest was also rejected by SBS.

Other countries have also rejected boycott letters and calls including German broadcaster NDR, Danish broadcaster DR and Irish broadcaster RTE, however despite all these calls and letters, no country has withdrawn from the 2019 contest due to the fact it will be held in Israel. Bulgaria is the only country that has withdrawn from the contest however, this was not a boycott from the contest.

Do you think SBS should boycott the contest? Do you think what BDS has done is out of order?

Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.

Tom Ryan

After joining the team in 2018, I've been lucky enough to cover four Eurovision seasons and I'm excited to see what 2023 has in store for us! I'm a music enthusiast, but also enjoy learning - so you'll likely find me in a classroom or listening to the best new music!

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