Mere hours after Russian forces began their invasion, Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspline/UA:PBC has demanded for the termination of Russia’s membership in the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the vehicle by which the Eurovision Song Contest is organized. If the EBU chooses to act, this would include banning Channel One and the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), from the European Community of Public Broadcasters.
In doing so, Ukraine’s public broadcaster is asking for the EBU to not allow Russia to compete in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest due to violations by the relevant broadcaster participating in paragraph (ii) of Section 2.7 of Part 1 of the PEC-2022 Rules (Policy and Evidence Centre) on the EBU’s Values.
The appeal states that since the beginning of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine since 2014, EBU broadcasters from the Russian Federation – Channel One and VGTRK – have been a mouthpiece for the Kremlin and a key tool of political propaganda financed from the Russian government’s budget.
Suspline claims that during the long-term aggressive of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the resources of these two media outlets have systematically disseminated false information, violated journalistic standards and spread hate speech, which is contrary to the values of the EBU.
Eurofans have been active online and the hashtag #EurovisionWithoutRussia has seen a rise in use since today’s invasion began.
The full text of Suspline’s letter is given below, in translation:
President of the EBU, Delphine Ernotte Cunci
Dear Mrs. Cunci!
UA:PBC as a Public Broadcaster of Ukraine shows you its respect and asks for support and protection of common values of members of the language union.
As you know, on February 21, 2022, the Russian Federation decided to recognize the “independence” of its quasi-entities in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine – the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic”. By such actions, the Russian side disregarded international law, the UN Charter, and violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
Such actions are the result of Russia’s long-term aggressive policy, which is implemented in part through propaganda through biased Russian media, including EBU broadcasters First Channel and the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company.
Since the beginning of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, EBU broadcasters from the Russian Federation, including Channel One and the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, have been the Kremlin’s mouthpiece and key instrument of Russian-funded political propaganda. Instead of following the values of the EBU, these broadcasters constantly and systematically spread misinformation, violate journalistic standards, spread hostility, and are a leading element of the Russian government’s information war against Ukraine and the rest of the civilized world.
According to Article 3.5, paragraph 3.5.5, of the EBU Statute, EBU members must demonstrate their ability to fulfill their membership obligations, in particular to promote the EMC’s objectives set out in Article 1.2 of the EMU Statute, namely:
- promotion and development of the concept of social media and their values, including universality, independence, excellence, diversity, responsibility and innovation in accordance with the EMU Declaration on the key values of public service broadcasting;
- ensuring freedom of speech and information;
- free formation of points of view;
- development of intercultural dialogue;
- strengthening social unity.
In connection with the systematic conduct of Russian broadcasters-members of the EMU disinformation policy of the Russian Federation contrary to the above principles of the EBU, UA:PBC asks you to begin the procedure of termination of membership of Russian broadcasters “Channel One” and 5.2 of the EBU Statute, namely the inconsistency of paragraph 3.5.5 of Article 3.5 of the EBU Statute .
In 2021, the EBU suspended Belteleradiocompany’s membership for violating the broadcaster’s core values. As Russian broadcasters First Channel and the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company are similarly instruments of power, systematically violating the journalistic standards and values of the EBU, UA:PBC expects similar consideration and further positive decision on termination of their membership in the European Community of Public Broadcasters.
We recognize that the process of suspending or suspending EBU membership requires careful consideration by the EBU Executive Board and referral to the EBU General Assembly. In the meantime, we call on the EBU to respond now to the unacceptable situation caused by Russia with the support of its essentially state broadcasters that are members of the EBU .
We call on the EBU to initiate the earliest possible consideration by member broadcasters of excluding Russia from the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest due to a gross violation by the relevant broadcaster participating in paragraph (ii) of Section 2.7 of Part 1 of the ECE-2022 Rules on EBU Values. The corresponding #EurovisionWithoutRussia campaign was launched by supporters of this international competition and is already spreading on the Internet.
In addition, we would like to emphasize that the Eurovision Song Contest was created after the Second World War to unite Europe. In view of this, Russia’s participation as an aggressor and violator of international law in this year’s Eurovision undermines the very idea of the competition. Please note that Russia’s participation in this year’s competition is provided by the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, which is an instrument of the Kremlin’s power in the information war against Ukraine and constantly violates journalistic standards underlying public broadcasting. Russia’s exclusion from this large-scale song event will be a powerful response by the international community of public broadcasters to the unacceptable aggressive and illegal actions of the Russian Federation and support for the country’s state broadcasters’ hostile policy of aggression.
Currently, the activities of the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, as well as the Russian broadcaster Channel One, contradict the very idea of public broadcasting and provide informational support to the Kremlin’s illegal activities that threaten peace in Europe and the world.
The common values and principles of public broadcasters of EBU members are not declarative slogans, so we expect the unanimity and support of all fellow broadcasters in this matter.
Chairman of the Board,
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. We hope everyone can stay safe during these difficult times.
Do you think Ukrain’s appeal to the EBU will be successful? Will Kalush Orchestra get to perform in Turin? Let us know your thoughts below or on our socials @escbubble !