The EBU can’t get away from the issue of flags at this year’s Eurovision. But whilst we haven’t heard or seen any issues with flags in the audience, it was Armenia’s Iveta Mukuchyan who sparked controversy last night. As we previously reported, Iveta brandished the flag of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area during a recap segment in last night’s live semi-final. Now, the EBU has reacted by handing down a sanction to Armenia’s broadcaster, AMPTV.

The EBU’s statement, released earlier today, condemned Iveta’s actions, explaining:

We are acutely aware of the tense situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and the ongoing tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We consider the appearance of a flag of a highly disputed territory in the live transmission a serious breach of Rule 1.2.2h of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest stating that “no messages promoting any organisation, institution, political cause or other, company, brand, products or services shall be allowed in the Shows”.

The full details of the sanction handed down to AMPTV will be decided at the next meeting of the Eurovision Reference Group in June. This means there’ll be no immediate effect on Iveta’s particiaption in Saturday’s grand final. The statement does, however, warn that Armenia could be disqualified for a further breach of the rule this year:

Furthermore, the EBU has imposed a zero-tolerance policy towards the Armenian delegation with regards to breaching the Rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, in particular in relation to the aforementioned incident. The Reference Group wishes to point out that any further breach of the Rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest could lead to disqualification from this year’s event or any successive editions.

Watch: Iveta Mukuchyan talks about Nagorono-Karabakh flag incident

This is not, of course, the first time that the Nagorno-Karabakh territory has caused controversy between Armenia and Azerbaijan at Eurovision. In 2009, Armenia’s postcard initially featured the “We Are the Mountains” monument, based in the region. Following an Azeri protest, the postcard was modified. In response, Armenia’s spokesperson, Sirusho, openly displayed the monument in a picture on a clipboard she was holding.

Still – Iveta seemed to be in good spirits despite the news tonight. She took to the stage at the #wiwijam, singing a cool, jazzy version of “LoveWave”. That’s one way to calm everything down!

Follow all of our Armenia Eurovision news here

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Mariam
Guest
Mariam

I think that Eurovision is a Political Song Contest? EBU ,First of all, you must follow the rules. The rules are expected to work for everyone, not just for a few countries, after which you can criticize other countries’ representatives such as Iveta from Armenia.
It is advantageous for you to see that what you need .
  Find yourself, look at your actions, you’re very unfair.

Lolilly
Guest
Lolilly

@JÜRGEN (Vienna) LOL LOL! Seems like you need to calm down your hysteria and hatred a bit! Stop talking about what Armenia needs to do or is doing wrong and focus on the things that you like for yourself. After all, you’re not the decision maker nor a judge to be involved in this. Please, do not try to talk about my people when you do not know our history, our culture and clearly do not respect us. NO matter how much you hate it, we are still going to talk about it, we are still going to inform everyone… Read more »

ohboy
Guest
ohboy

and then you will be surprised how europe bowed to turks….. kissed their feet and lost al the money they were bribed with…

Vahe
Guest
Vahe

My open letter to EBU Sanction for showing flag? Which rule did Iveta breach? They saying that it’s political cause? Are you seriously? She even didn’t said any political things just showed flag. Azerbaijani journalist question, rather speech, was politically. By the way, he is the deputy director of Azerbaijani TV, which broadcasting Eurovision.If showing flag is political issue, you should ban all flags, because may some country have political disputes or conflicts with other one for example Ukraine and Russia. And what about solidarity, your tolerance? You are solidarity with everyone except Armenians? EBU saying. We are acutely aware… Read more »

Sydney
Guest
Sydney

Omg, are you serious? It’s just a flag, I don’t get it… Why I see tons of azeris commenting in every article about Armenia, you can’t find an article without azeris trying to throw a stone on Armenia. Not only on this website. Even when a celebrity posts a picture or writes something about Armenia on their personal social networks, this nation starts to show their uneducated and dirty face. What they want from Armenians, to repeat the genocide like they did in 1915? Time has changed, Armenians are not the naive nation they were before and they will never… Read more »

DivaVictoria
Guest
DivaVictoria

Leave Eurovision for good both of you, Armenia and Russia. We don’t want politics and homophobes in our favourite contest. ESC is not a place for countries like Armenia or Russia. I just pity their fans tho.

babychops
Guest
babychops

I went to the Copenhagen Final in 2014 and the hatred they had for Conchita was so evident and intimidating towards the Austrian supporters. However the support by all the other countries certainly put the Armenians in their place. Apart from Lithuania who do not get involved in all this Russian block support, get out of the competition you have ruined and have your own Russianvision.

Peter Hausmann
Guest
Peter Hausmann

If you gonna disqualify Armenia than you need to disqualify Ukraine(1944- so antirussian). EBU C’MON! IT’S JUST A FLAG!

Nick
Guest
Nick

I could not actually believe that it was true.
I googled and it is true- that safarov had killed the Armenian while he was sleeping and then became national hero.
Now I understand why Iveta had the flag. I do not blame her at all. Woooow

Made of Stars
Guest
Made of Stars

So many hateful comments by armenians here, seriously.. Such a small country and that big hatred.. Nationalism is not a good thing, dear armenians. I hope that you will find the right path one day anyways.

Kristina
Guest
Kristina

OMG I love Iveta, I love her song and she is so sexy. I do not care about anything else. If she wants to wave a flag let her do it. She is sweetheart. The rest is BS.

J.C.
Guest
J.C.

@Digital Style Agree!

Digital Style
Guest
Digital Style

I don’t understand why people are backing her excuse up. If you wanted to make a peace statement, you should have brought a cut out peace sign or flag, or even bring an Azerbaijani flag with you to really shock people. But to bring a flag that stands for a movement that she KNOWS Azerbaijan do not agree with, she is only further inflaming the conflict. She knew it was a controversial thing to do, she knew it was political and she knew it was against the rules. I don’t want Iveta or Armenia to be disqualified, or even punished… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

I think people here need to calm down. EBU has not banned Armenia, nor they should. I don’t think what Iveta did is such a big offense that it is worthy of ban. Was it an unnecessary step on her part? Yes, she should have known better. But oh well, EBU brought this upon themselves when they put these regional flags next to an ISIS flag and categorized them under the same restriction. Not kool EBU

Jenna
Guest
Jenna

C’mon peopleeee !!!! it’s JUST a freakin’ flag ! She hasn’t said anything , nor spoken or comment about this issue … less drama please …

Kristina
Guest
Kristina

I just came to read the comments. By the way our singer from Ukraine is half Armenian too.

Armenian boy
Guest
Armenian boy

Are you seriously? Disqualification in the following years? It’s probably a joke. My country – Armenia – is the most original participant of Eurovision. Everyone remembers the songs, that we submitted to the contest: Sirusho with her “Qélé, Qélé”, Inga and Anush “Jan Jan”, Aram MP3 “Not Alone”, and now Iveta Mukuchyan with her beautiful song “LoveWave”. And what you are trying to say now? Europe is ready to give up such of these worthy songs? I don’t think so. These sanctions – not a threat to us. At the contest organizers always want somehow to hurt us. But we… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

Wooow, come on people, let’s put this way
even in the comments u r all get political, u r all discriminating one or another, u r all take sides, and yet scream and write that ESC is not political?????
Triple standards, fake, fake, fake humans.
Who r we to judge or give opinion about something we do not know about???
I think Iveta is very hot hot hot, and I do not care about anything else. She has everything to win.

Julian
Guest
Julian

@Alex, tired of nationalists
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”

This is from a country that has about 400 years of history not thousands of years like Armenians. Silly, isn’t it? So many nations and nationalists in the world. And so few… not sure what.

Alvaro
Guest
Alvaro

As my origins come from Armenia, I just can say BRAVO to IVETA!! It seems like anyone in Europe really know about WHAT happened in Armenia since 1915, where probably more than the jews during the second world war died because Turkish and Azeris. It is not studied in the school, but not for that reason it is less important that other wars. I am proud of Ivete, as I am proud of Jamala singing about Crimea war, I do not think the problem just to show a flag, the problem is to make the war…we can always show our… Read more »

Alvaro
Guest
Alvaro

As my origins came from Armenia, I just can say BRAVO to IVETA!! It seems like anyone in Europe really know about WHAT happened in Armenia since 1915, where probably more than the jews during the second world war died because Turkish and Azeris. It is not studied in the school, but not for that reason it is less important that other wars. I am proud of Ivete, as I am proud of Jamala singing about Crimea war, I do not think the problem just to show a flag, the problem is to make the war…we can always show our… Read more »

EscAddict
Guest
EscAddict

Armenia tried to bring politics into ESC last year with “Don’t Deny”. Now this year Iveta is being deliberately political with the flag.
Enough.
Armenia, get out!

miramax09
Guest
miramax09

@Alex, tired of nationalists:

This!!! Signed and well done! You are so right. Thank you very very much for that thoughts.

Alex, tired of nationalists
Guest
Alex, tired of nationalists

I’ve read some comments here and on YouTube and I have to say that this level of blind nationalism and chauvinism coming from both sides (Armenia and Azerbaijan) is appalling. I still have to find a single comment that starts with “as an Armenian/Azeri” (and this is already indicative, as if belonging to a certain ethnicity/nation makes your opining more competent) where the person writing is not completely brainwashed and shows a minimum skill of critical thinking and self-reflection. Not to mention the “WE all love our MOTHERLAND”, “Armenia is proud of you” plonkers and their pathetic phrases worthy of… Read more »

Previ
Guest
Previ

Well Done EBU. It was a clear provocation and Iveta knew it was gonna be controvertial. This is politics, nothing to do with the song

John Fow-tan
Guest
John Fow-tan

Armenia should be kicked out from the competition. Now!

eurotwist
Guest
eurotwist

Dear Iveta, if you really wanted peace you should have waved a peace flag as to my concern you did otherwise by your actions using eurovision song contest.And to all , please stop politics at eurovision and voting for neighbours just choose the best song!

Carrey Smith
Guest

Ho ho ho this is a song contest do you remember the Ukaranes singer who sings the song Goodbye Russia- this is not just song contest

Man_Peace
Guest

Firstly I want to say thank you to the organizer of the Eurovision Song Contest behind such a show it was perfect! My roots are from Karabakh and I love Armenia and Karabakh but first of all love justice!To be honest I was hurt that you civilized people and the whole of Europe which are struggling against terrorists were compared Karabakh flag with the flag igil!Yes I agree this is musical show and does not contain is no political But you so have divided of people of peaceful people who are just fighting for his house and for their lives… Read more »

Man_Peace
Guest

Firstly I want to say thank you to the organizer of the Eurovision Song Contest behind such a show it was perfect! My roots are from Karabakh and I love Armenia and Karabakh but first of all love justice!To be honest I was hurt that you civilized people and the whole of Europe which are struggling against terrorists were compared Karabakh flag with the flag igil!Yes I agree this is musical show and does not contain is no political But you so have divided of people of peaceful people who are just fighting for his house and for their lives… Read more »

Man_Peace
Guest

Firstly I want to say thank you to the organizer of the Eurovision Song Contest behind such a show it was perfect! My roots are from Karabakh and I love Armenia and Karabakh but first of all love justice!To be honest I was hurt that you civilized people and the whole of Europe which are struggling against terrorists were compared Karabakh flag with the flag igil!Yes I agree this is musical show and does not contain is no political But you so have divided of people of peaceful people who are just fighting for his house and for their lives… Read more »

EUROPE, STOP FIGHTING NOW.
Guest
EUROPE, STOP FIGHTING NOW.

I thought this year’s slogan was COME TOGETHER.

GEF
Guest
GEF

I think EBU should prevent countrirs from participating of they are in a military comflict with another Country. So Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukrain should not take Part. Otherwise ESC becomes a kindergarden. There are so many unreflected People here who only follow the propaganda of their governments. Azeries and Armenians point at the otherone’s faults but they are doing the very same. The juries are in both countries entirely politically voting. This alone should be a reason for disqualification.

Malin
Guest
Malin

ARMENIA MAKES ME SAD : (
I want ESC to be something that make people whith difrences het together. I would love to se the Armenian singer grab a swedish fika whith the singer from Awzerbadjan. Show that we are first of all humanbeeings and set a god exemple fore the politicans!
Right now Armenia are not worthy the Eurovision trofy when they turn ESC to a political battelfield. Arminia has lost my vote unless they do something to compensate.

eurotwist
Guest
eurotwist

Armenia should be disqualified! Rules are rules……this is a song contest

samodan
Guest
samodan

Guys what is just WRONG with you???? Is Iveta eating your brain with her sex appeal or what happened? The only thing that Iveta did, is to provoke. She said, she want to have peace on borders. Fine. Why she didn’t show a sign of peace instead a very instable an provocative sign. You can see the reaction (yes, REACTION) of the Azerbaijan journalist immediately. This is not about PEACE, this is poking on wounds on the wrong platform. And in fact, Iveta is a part of the Armenian Deligation. The sanctions are absolutely right and fair. I was a… Read more »

Corine
Guest
Corine

While there was nothing political in waving Nagorno Karabakh flag in the green room, and neither were there political statements in Iveta’s response to the correspondent, Azerbadjain’s journalist expressly presented their formal political standing of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but EBU still chooses to punish only Armenia?! How should we take this message? As a selective discrimination against Armenia? Violations of freedom of expression right of the Armenian participant?

Hi
Guest

Russia brake the rules. What happend, nothing. Ukraines Song are politic, what happend, nothing. And Armenia have a flag. What happend, they could be disqalifired. Send home Russia and Ukraine. They whould not be in ESC.

Jelena Jenkovic
Guest
Jelena Jenkovic

Artsakh / Nagorno Karabakh is not a “messages promoting any organisation, institution, political cause or other, company, brand, products or services shall be allowed in the Shows.” It is a country formed in the most democratic way recognized and through the international law-recognized method of self determination. Before it was a country, it was part of Armenia until Stalin took it away from Armenia and gave it to Azerbaijan for political reasons– yes, even though the overwhelming majority of the population was still Armenian. God bless those Armenians who are risking their lives to continue their existence. It’s dam.n. near… Read more »

Jacques
Guest
Jacques

@Adri Because Turkey is a UN member state country, recognised by all the other UN members too. It’s also possible Moldovan entrant holding a Romanian flag or even Belgian entrant a New Zealand flag. They all are UN member states. What Serhat or Nigar holding was not the Northern Cyprus flag. The thing is the same – if it’s possible to bring the flag of Armenian occupied Azerbaijani territory Nagorno Karabakh in Eurovision, than some other participant would like support Turkish occupied Cypriot land Northern Cyprus. (PS: At least a UN member state recognises Northern Cyprus, but zero Nagorno Karabakh)… Read more »

ESC84
Guest
ESC84

I always get DATABASE connection error to this website recently, can wiwiblog fix this?

Adri
Guest
Adri

Iveta is risky, inteligent Lady. Why Serhat Can hold Turkish flag, Last year Elnur Huseynov did as Well, and Why not Iveta?? She did not offend anyone, there was nothing political, she knows what to do. And europeans say that Armenia and Azerbaijan make political things every year. But believe me, sometimes europeans themself do it, Why that journalist from Sweden asked political question? You want them to be in peace during Esc, than do not ask them such questions. Europeans like to do one thing–give advice, Armenia and Azerbaijan calm down. Be sure Armenia knows that, souranded by muslim… Read more »

burkina faso realness
Guest
burkina faso realness

UGH azerbaijan is just corrupt and disgusting, a country controlled by a dirty family, punishing and killing people for not complying. They punish people who vote for armenia!! they’re the real enemies. Serhat held up a Turkish flag, why can’t iveta hold up another flag- the restrictions have been lifted. leave her alone

Mark Beckenfruer
Guest
Mark Beckenfruer

?BU has zero tolerance… for featuring a flag of unrecognized region.., nice. My question is: Why then they had significant amount of tolerance for Azerbuyjan in 2009 when the Azeri secret services summoned and interrogated their own people who voted for Inga and Anoush? EBU having so much tolerance for Azerbaijan they even turned a blind eye on that (sim card) buying votes case a few years ago. I think Armenian broadcaster should sue the EBU for intolerance, double standards, corruption. Why the rights of LGBT community of the refugees (interval act!) should be more important than the rights of… Read more »

Nick
Guest
Nick

Ohh, what a bigdeal?
Who cares???
Azeris had done so many stupid things and got away with all.
Armenia is always extra spice to Euro song contest.
Tooooo much fuss for nothing.
U punish Armenia, and support Azeris???
R u taking sides?? Yes u do.
Corrupted Azerbajan with dirty money buy ESC as well.

Tyler
Guest
Tyler

Please stop whining over the fact that Armenia has made a causality, and stop trying to make the issue worse! Also, please do not compare this incident to Ukraine.. as the political stances through the song and actions are for different reasons. I do support however that you had the guts to show the flag out, but don’t play with the authorities please…

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

IDK how to feel. Of course leave it to Azerbaijan to throw a fit but I have the feeling that even neutral parties were offended. I respect and even somewhat support Iveta’s stance, but perhaps talking about it in an intellectual forum or interview would have been better. As someone said earlier though, this does add to Iveta’s appeal for some. And to those complaining about Jamala, the song acknowledges historical facts- if Russia had an issue, they could have got them disqualified as they did with Georgia in 2009.

AurelianTamisan
Guest
AurelianTamisan

I don’t want to be rude, but this episode, what happens every year between Armenia and Azerbaijan… these are totally not respecting the contest’s rules and the sanctions are practically inexistent. I see that in this contest, ‘where we’re building bridges and coming together, where the unity is more important than money’, the only problem is to have debts and than you can not taking into account an artist or the fans from an entire country, while they’re accepting things like this. What to say, congratulations, day by day you’re showing your truly face.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Azerbaidjan is buying a Swedish song each year and Armenia isn’t. I don’t think we should look for a more complex reason behind EBU’s decision. The competition this year is at height of stupidity, hypocrisy, meanness. EBU taking political decisions one after another. Removal of Romania for historical debts that were being payed (most probably they didn’t liked the song, what was it about? fight against corruption? so obsolete, there isn’t such thing anymore). Banning all flags with a list first and then some genius there rephrased it basically as we allow all flags except those who we don’t like.… Read more »