The Icelandic broadcaster, RÚV, have been fined €5,000 by the EBU for the Palestinian protest made by their representative Hatari at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, hosted in Tel-Aviv, Israel.
Hatari held up Palestinian flags in the green room during the voting procedure when their score on the televote was announced. This was not wholly unexpected as the band had made their stance on the conflict well known in advance of the contest taking place.
The TV cameras were soon switched to other participants in the green room but booing could be heard loudly throughout the arena as the hosts tried to quickly move the voting on.
After the contest, Hatari released a collaboration single with gay Palestinian musician, Bashar Murad – an artist equally as controversial as Hatari.
RÚV objects to the judgement
As has been expected for some time, Iceland’s national broadcaster has been fined by the European Broadcasting Union. The EBU imposed the minimum amount available to them for punishments.
RÚV has taken an objection to the stance made by the EBU, however. The official statement on their website states:
RÚV expressed an objection to the EBU on their intention to fine and expressed dissatisfaction with the handling of the case and the proposed outcome.
A letter from RÚV to the EBU states that it would be the wrong result or wrong to fine RÚV for violating the rules when [they] had taken all possible measures to comply with the rules of the competition.
RÚV is of the opinion that the television stations participating in the competition can never completely prevent artists on their behalf saying or doing anything that might contradict the rules of the competition.RÚV News Agency
RÚV continued by stating that they remain proud of the result that Hatari obtained and view their participation as an achievement. They regard Hatari’s effort as “impressive” and due to the fact they “attracted much attention”.
RÚV concludes by stating they will participate at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
The Icelandic national final and Eurovision is hugely popular in Iceland. In 2019, 98% of those who watched TV during the broadcast tuned in. This audience share is the largest known in Europe.
Iceland finished 10th with 232 points, their best result since 2009 when Yohanna was the runner-up with “Is It True?” in Moscow, Russia.
Do you think it was fair for the EBU to fine RÚV for Hatari’s protest? Let us know in the comments below or on social media @ESCXTRA.