The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has issued a statement, following the brief grand final shot of Icelandic act Hatari holding banners reading “Palestine”. The group held up the banners as they received their televote points during the last part of the grand final.
In a statement to press, the EBU has said:
“In the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, Hatari, the Icelandic act, briefly displayed small Palestinian banners whilst sat in the Green Room. The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the contest’s rules. The banners were quickly removed and the consequences of this action will be discussed by the Reference Group (the contest’s executive board) after the contest.”
This suggests that Icelandic broadcaster RÚV may potentially face sanctions from the EBU.
Fans have noted that the banner incident took place long after Hatari’s performance in the competition and happened when voting was closed.
Hatari drummer Einar Stefánsson later uploaded a short video showing a security guard attempting to confiscate the group’s banners.
Hatari’s banner wasn’t the only time the Palestine colours were seen in the Eurovision 2019 grand final. Guest performer Madonna closed her performance with two dancers who wore jackets featuring the Israeli and Palestinian flags.
The 2016 incident
This isn’t the first time that a banner has caused controversy at Eurovision. In 2016, during the first semi-final, Armenian singer Iveta Mukuchyan was shown waving the flag of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area.
At the time, the EBU issued a statement saying:
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 EBU issued Armenia with a formal warning and said that any further displays from Armenia “could lead to disqualification from this year’s event or any successive editions.”
Armenia did not face further sanctions and was able to compete at Eurovision 2017.
Comments on this post are now closed.