Sweden Abolishes Televote Fees In Support of Aid To Ukraine

If you’ve ever watched Sweden’s National Eurovision Selection Show, Melodifestivalen, you’ll no doubt have noticed two phone numbers on screen for televoters. One vote costs 3,90 kr (€0.36) and the other costs 9,90 kr (€0.92). Swedes have had the option to pay a higher price to vote in order to support Radiohjälpen (Radio Help) – a Swedish aid organisation and foundation that is organised by Sveriges Radio AB, Sveriges Television AB and Sveriges Utbildningsradio AB. Money raised goes to humanitarian projects around the globe, like the drought in the Sahel of Africa in 2012, and relief efforts in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake, to name just two examples.

Last week, Melodifestivalen started a special fundraiser for Ukraine in partnership with Radiohjälpen. Today’s announcement published in Aftonbladet is that Swedish telecom operators will abolish all fees for telephone votes. This means that the full 9,90 kr per vote will go directly to Radiohjälpen’s efforts to support Ukraine. Telecom operators Telia, Tele 2, Tre, Telenor and the supplier Viatel choose to donate the entire service fee to Radiohjälpen’s fundraiser.

Kristina Henschen, Secretary General of Radiohjälpen, was asked in an interview, “There are no problems with artists showing their support [for Ukraine], will SVT show its support?” Kristina answered,

“We will do as we did last week, we started a fundraiser for the benefit of people in Ukraine seeking support through Radiohjälpen and when we left that shipment we had raised 1.4 million [Swedish Krona = €130,350] and it has continued, and we will continue with it on Saturday. Today it is over 10 million [Swedish Krona = €931,000].”

At the time of publication, that amount had now grown to well over 13 million Krona (€1.2 million). Last week’s fourth Heat of Melodifestivalen began with an emotional scene by hosts Oscar Zia and Farah Abadi, where they showed solidarity with those affected in Ukraine. During the show, Abadi said,

“We stand united with all those who are fighting against the inconceivable that happens just a few hours’ journey from here.”

Zia and Abadi then announced that the money raised through Radiohjälpen’s vote will go to help the people of Ukraine. The fundraiser for Ukraine will continue during tomorrow’s Semi Final and next week’s Final.

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