World leaders condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine swiftly and immediately. And now Europe’s state broadcasters are following suit.
On Friday afternoon Eric van Stade, the general director of The Netherlands’ AVROTROS, issued a statement making his position clear.
“Personally and also as the general director of AVROTROS, I no longer wish to remain silent. This is the time that Europe should unite and show what we stand for. Russia’s military actions no longer stand for politics — this about a gross violation of universal values like independence and human rights. I ask other countries to also speak up and call on the EBU to suspend Russia’s membership, whereby they can no longer take part in the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.”
De Nederlandse omroep @AVROTROS, mede-organisator van het Eurovisie Songfestival in 2021, roept de European Broadcast Union op Rusland met onmiddellijke ingang te schorsen als lid van de EBU. #ESC2022 #Eurovision2022 pic.twitter.com/GjIsL4Il8D— Songfestival (@songfestival) February 25, 2022
The statement marks a shift in tone from Thursday.
At that time — shortly after Sweden’s SVT had publicly condemned Russia’s participation — a spokesperson from the broadcaster told AD that it did not want to get involved in the discussion about whether Russia should be allowed to participate.
Earlier this week, the EBU issued a statement just before the invasion that said Russia was welcome in the event. It said:
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event which unites nations and celebrates diversity through music.”
“EBU members in both Russia and Ukraine have committed to participating in this year’s event in Turin and we are currently planning to welcome artists from both countries to perform in May.”
“We of course will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Monitoring the situation would show the EBU that broadcasters are now lining up to tell it Russia should be suspended from the European Broadcasting Union and excluded from Eurovision.
On Friday morning Denmark and Norway joined the call.