Finland Threatens Boycott of ESC 2022 If Russia Participates

Broadcaster Yleisradio Oy (YLE) of Finland 🇫🇮 has added its voice to the growing list of national broadcasters who are unpleased at the European Broadcasting Union. Already, UA:PBC of Ukraine 🇺🇦, SVT of Sweden 🇸🇪, DK of Denmark 🇩🇰, NRK of Norway 🇳🇴, AVROTROS of The Netherlands 🇳🇱, and LRT of Lithuania 🇱🇹 have publicly expressed concerns about Russia’s participation at Eurovision 2022 in Turin this May. Ukraine was the first yesterday, and sent a letter to the EBU to address their concerns.

In a statement released yesterday, and partly in response to UA:PBC, the EBU announced:

The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event that unites countries and celebrates diversity through music […] The broadcasters of Russia and Ukraine have both pledged to be in Turin this year. […] And we are currently planning to welcome artists from both countries.

Today, YLE have officially called on the EBU to exclude Russia from Eurovision, specifically because of its invasion of Ukraine. YLE went further than the other national broadcasters and said it does not intend to participate in Eurovision this year if Russia is invited.

YLE’s Director of Creative Content Ville Vilén had this to say about their decision to potentially withdraw:

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine runs counter to all the values ​​that YLE and other European broadcasters represent. YLE always defends Western democracy, the rule of law, freedom of expression and human dignity. YLE cannot take part in an event where Russia, which has blatantly attacked these values, can use one of Europe’s best-known brands to advance its own interests. I hope that the EBU will act in accordance with its values ​​here.”

Of course, the timing of this decision could not be worse. Finland is due to select its artist and song for Eurovision at their national final – Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) – this Saturday, 26th February in Turku. The live broadcast of UMK will be shown on YLE TV1 and Yle Areena at 20:00 CET.

When it comes to this weekend’s UMK, Vilén had this to say:

“YLE’s UMK has been successfully bringing out new domestic music for ten years. We will have some great songs and artists in the finals this year as well. I believe and hope that one of them will have the opportunity to perform for the whole of Europe in May.”

Should Finland participate in Eurovision 2022, who should win UMK on Saturday? And what do you think of today’s announcement from Finland? Vote in our poll below and let us know your thoughts in the comments or on our social media @escbubble !

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