In the run up to Eurovision 2019, Iceland’s Hatari were pretty blunt about their support for Palestine and their discomfort performing in Israel. Ahead of the show they’d suggested they would spark controversy in a big way, even issuing a statement on the matter. “[We] don’t think there will be a Palestinian flag on stage,” they said. While one could claim they ultimately kept their promise, the band did break the EBU’s no-politics rule. And that was before the cameras even went live.
The Palestinian flag incident
As we already know, the Icelandic act couldn’t help but show their solidarity with the Palestinian nation during the Eurovision voting segment. They did that by waving a banner with the Palestinian flag in the green room during the televoting procedure.
Today RÚV has announced that the EBU has decided to fine them. The Icelandic broadcaster will pay 5,000 euros, which, to many, won’t seem particularly punitive. Even so, RÚV has objected to the EBU’s penalty, saying they are “dissatisfied with the handling of the case and the proposed outcome.”
The broadcaster stated that they had taken all possible measures to avoid breaking the EBU’s rules, hinting that Hatari’s actions were their own responsibility.
RÚV also stressed that the participating broadcaster can never completely prevent artists from saying or doing anything that might contradict the rules of the competition. They are, after all, independent performers.
Despite the drama, RÚV is still proud of Iceland’s contribution to the competition this year. Hatari eventually finished 10th on the night — the country’s best result in a decade. “Hatari were impressive and attracted a lot of attention”, the statement said.
After the contest in Tel Aviv, some fans worried that the EBU might ban Iceland from participating in the 2020 edition. But not to worry: RÚV claim that is no longer an option. Iceland has already confirmed their participation, and song submissions are now open.
What do you think of this solution? Were officials too strict? Too lenient? Let us know in the comments below!
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