European broadcasters have condemned Russia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 and asked the European Broadcasting Union to exclude it from the next edition in Turin.
Now Finland’s state broadcaster YLE has gone a step further, saying that it will withdraw from the contest if Russia is allowed to participate.
Ville Vilén, the director of the broadcaster’s Creative Content and Media Unit, said it would be hypocritical to share the stage with a country that has invaded another.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is contrary to all the values that Yle and other European broadcasters represent. Yle always defends Western democracy, the rule of law, freedom of expression and human dignity. Yle cannot take part in an event where Russia, which has blatantly attacked these values, can use one of Europe’s best-known brands to advance its own interests. I hope that the EBU will act in accordance with its values here.”
Yle sought clarification of the EBU position on Thursday and received the same canned response as other broadcasters — that the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event. As ever, the EBU told YLE that it’s “monitoring developments.”
As we told you earlier, the head of Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT was the first to call on the EBU to rethink its position.
On Thursday Hanna Stjärne said:
“I understand the idea of Eurovision as an apolitical event. However, the situation in Europe is very serious because of the Russian invasion. We have demanded that the EBU change its position.”