Culture 12:07 23/03/2021 Region

Petition to disqualify Azerbaijani participant from Eurovision 2021 hits around 5,000 signatures

A petition, demanding the  European Broadcasting Union ("EBU") to cancel Azerbaijani artist Efendi from Eurovision 2021 was launched on Change.org platform. According to the text of the petition the Azerbaijan's representative for 2021, Efendi, has promoted and taken part in hateful speech, discrimination and encouraged killing of Armenians through use of social media posts, tags, and by participating in state sponsored events. "She has posted images of herself wearing military uniform calling all Azerbaijanis to fight against Armenians, sharing taglines calling Armenians "te**orists", and making a mockery of thousands of Armenians who were displaced as a result of Azeri aggression. Efendi openly praises Azerbaijan's leadership which ranks 168 out of 180 in freedom of speech," the source said. 

The statement reminds that Ictimai Television ("ITV"), the Azeri broadcaster that is EBU member is affiliated and sponsored by the Azeri government. The broadcaster has in the past violated numerous EBU rules, yet has not faced disbarment of its membership from the EBU. In 2009, ITV cooperated with the Azeri government to provide the phone numbers of the Azerbaijani civilians who had voted for Armenia. Those individuals were detained, interrogated or threatened by Azerbaijani National Security Ministry. In 2013, online videos surfaced showing Azeri representative attempting to recruit through bribery individuals in other European countries to vote for the Azeri entrant. In 2017, the five-member Azerbaijani juries unanimously ranked the Armenian entrant last and ranked the Cypriot entrant with an Armenian background second to last. EBU has taken no affirmative actions against ITV in the past for these violations.

It is noted that that ESC is a non-political music festival intended to unite European countries through music. According to EBU rules, participating broadcasters shall at all times respect ESC values and ensure no country is discriminated or ridiculed in any manner. "By allowing Efendi to participate in this year's contest, EBU validates, encourages and affiliates itself with an artist who has spread hateful speech against Armenians," the petition added which has collected around 5,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning. 



Source Panorama.am
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