The European Broadcasting Union excluded Montenegro’s jury vote at Eurovision 2015 without a detailed explanation — and without publishing those results for public scrutiny. Earlier today we published those jury results on wiwibloggs.
As you can see at the end of this post, the inclusion of the jury result would not have greatly affected the points Montenegro awarded at Eurovision. Even so, there are other consequences to annulling the Montenegrin jury vote — both on the individual jurors and Montenegro’s state broadcaster RTCG. So much so that Montenegro’s Eurovision delegation has described its participation in Eurovision 2016 as “questionable”.
Montenegro’s Head of Delegation Sabrija Vulic detailed the consequences in a letter sent to Jan Ola Sand, the executive superviser of the Eurovision Song Contest, and other members of the Eurovision Reference Group, which met in June to discuss this and many other issues.
You can read the full letter below, but here are some highlights.
(1) It points out some of the other jury results that were not annulled by the EBU, but could be considered suspect
(2) It argues that media attention on the jury result has overshadowed Knez’s success at the event
(3) It suggests that Montenegro will struggle to find jurors willing to participate in the future
(4) It asks why the EBU accepted the results of its jury for the second semi final, but annulled its televote in that semi
(5) It questions why the EBU does not accept the notary’s decision that the Montenegrin jury results were valid
(6) It suggests the reputations of the individual jurors and RTCG have been damaged
(7) It asks that the EBU reinstate Montenegro’s jury vote. Not doing so may compell RTCG “to seek justice elsewhere”
Montenegro’s response to the EBU
Dear Jan Ola, dear members of the Reference Group,
In previous emails I wrote that the position of our house is extremely negative on the decision of the Reference Group to cancel the jury votes from Montenegro and that we are disappointed with this decision, because our jury worked in accordance with the rules with their opinion without any pressures from the side.
I have to remind you that the members of our jury are people with academic titles, some of which work in high positions in our school system, and they had a remarkable career like artist musicians.
The consequences of the man who gave the recommendation to annul the votes of Montenegrin jury are extremely negative and far-reaching. So we ask a few questions:
Is it possible that the jury members think similarly (example: the German jury gave all the first place to Latvia and Italy, as a bookmark like favorite, placed in the other half of the table)?
Are you aware that because of this decision in the Balkan media success of Montenegro and the success of the entire event move in the background, because all the media talk about the decision that canceled the votes of the Montenegrin jury?
Are you aware, that next year, if Montenegro will participate in ESC, we will not be able to find anyone to be a jury member because no one wants him to an unknown person tried on his voice?
Are you aware, that you are accepted the voices of the same jury in the Second semi-final, and you cancel the votes of the audience from Montenegro?
Which document states how many SMS votes we need for the vote to be valid?
By whose order , the secretary of the Reference group to talk to me and suggested that I talk with other delegations about points just before second semifinal? On what basis and whose statements he concluded that I as the Head of the Montenegrin delegation talked with someone?
Which document states that judges may not similarly to vote?
How do we justify the money what we gave to the jury members for their work when their work is not recognized by the Reference Group?
Why are we engaged Notary to control the voting and why not complied with her conclusion that the vote passed regularly?
For all these reasons, we request from Reference group, that the votes of the jury from Montenegro to be confirmed in the Final , because the members of the jury and RTCG feel hurt and damaged, and we will be forced to seek justice elsewhere or to judicial authorities.
I thank you for your understanding and we believe that you will approve our request.
In case you think this is necessary, I am willing to attend a meeting of the Reference Group and give further details.
He raises a number of very reasonable questions that I think the EBU should answer. It’s a very important step the EBU has taken to discard tainted jury votes. But it’s equally important that they do so only when a jury is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the EBU present their evidence and allow a delegation to rebut that evidence. Otherwise we’ve traded allowing fraudulent votes for a witch hunt, which is equally bad.
And the change in the final results would be…
wiwiblogger Robyn looked at how re-instating the Montenegrin jury vote would impact Montenegro’s votes. It looks like it would have gone like this.
Serbia 12 (no change)
Albania 10 (no change)
Italy 8 (2 more)
Slovenia 7 (3 more)
Russia 6 (1 less)
Sweden 5 (no change)
Azerbaijan 4 (4 less)
Israel 3 (no change)
Armenia 2 (previously 0)
Greece 1 (previously 0)
Spain 0 (loses 2 points)
Estonia 0 (loses 1 point)
The only change to the overall Eurovision 2015 ranking is Armenia. Montenegro’s extra 2 points pushes Armenia’s total score from 34 to 36 points, beating Romania’s 35 points and therefore putting Armenia in 15th place (previously 16th).
What do you think? Does the EBU owe Montenegro answers? If there are no compelling answers, should the jury vote be reinstated?
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)