Eurovision organisers respond to media reports on voting

Eurovision organisers respond to media reports on voting
Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand. Photo: Sander Hesterman (EBU)
Geneva, Switzerland -

"The millions of viewers in Europe and the contestants, who have put heart and soul into their performances, deserve a fair and transparent result," said Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, in response to media reports that question the integrity of the voting.

'Undercover in Lithuania'

On Saturday, hours before the Final, an undercover video surfaced in Lithuanian media, apparently showing how two individuals approached people to cast large amounts of votes in favor of one particular entry.

Sand responds: "We are looking into this case, but would emphasise that the intention of these individuals have not yet been clarified, and nor has a link been established between the individuals in the video and the Azeri delegation, the Azeri act or the Azeri EBU Member Ictimai TV."

The EBU has worked with Digame on the televote processing for nearly ten years. Digame’s platform is built to handle the televoting with absolute professional care, and incorporates systems to detect any attempts at so-called power-voting, where people or systems systematically vote for a chosen contestant. Based on criteria established by the EBU and Digame and overseen by a PwC observer, votes garnered through any instances of power-voting are disregarded.

Azerbaijan to Russia; no points

The EBU also took note of reports in international media of an investigation by the President of Azerbaijan into the Azeri jury and televoting in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. The EBU holds the independence of the professional juries in all participating countries to be of paramount importance.

The combination of televotes and jury votes, each bearing a 50% influence on the outcome, did not result in a top 10 position for Russia in the overall result from Azerbaijan. Therefore, Azerbaijan awarded Russia no points – a result confirmed by a notary onsite, by our voting partner Digame and by an independent observer from PwC.

Sand comments: "The first duty of the EBU, as organiser of the Eurovision Song Contest, is to its Members, the public service broadcasters in the participating countries (Ictimai TV in Azerbaijan). We believe that the Song Contest's apolitical spirit is a cornerstone of its enduring success, and we will do all we can to protect it."

Any form of political pressure on professional juries that could lead to anything other than an independent evaluation of the participating entries is a violation of the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, and will be duly dealt with.

A pro-active approach

"I have been around at the Eurovision Song Contest since 1998, and every year there are rumors about irregularities in the voting. Particularly this year, we felt it was time to firmly deal with these rumors," Sand commented on various media enquiries.

To tighten the procedures, PwC has sent additional observers to broadcasters unannounced shortly before the broadcast, to verify as well if the jury voting is being conducted in accordance with the Rules. A PwC observer has also conducted interviews with broadcaster representatives at the Eurovision Song Contest, to evaluate rumors.

To assure a fair jury voting, judges are asked to sign a document declaring their independency, and are asked to submit details about their professional background. The jury voting is overlooked by an independent notary who confirms to the EBU and PwC that the voting has been conducted in accordance with the Rules.

In support of the fairness and transparency of the voting as one of the corner stones of the Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU constantly evaluates rules and procedures and tightens them if necessary.

"We act immediately"

Several journalists have asked what the consequences would be in case the Rules governing the voting would be breached.

Dr. Frank Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, the event's governing body on behalf of EBU Members, states: "Let me be clear on this. If we find any clear evidence that the Rules are being breached, including attempts of power-voting, we act immediately to do what we are obliged to do on behalf of the Members: to protect the Eurovision Song Contest brand."

Based on all criteria laid out in the Rules, PwC confirmed to the EBU the validity of the result of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.

There are 254 comments

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  • Posted on 30 May 2013 at 10:04
    This is a total farce! Here is the petition that floating around FB to get ALL the jury votes published from EVERY country..
    Please sign it-we need to get these results out. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 30 May 2013 at 03:27
    @alexnorway. The numbers speak for themselves about how the Nordics have been voting as a block no matter what. Worse culprits. But they like talking about ex-Soviets or ex-Yugoslavs to detract attention from the reality of the numbers. The Nordics are the block that needs to be crashed cause it has gone beyond being a joke report to the moderator
  • Posted on 28 May 2013 at 18:01
    Ban all voting for neighbours, job done. Simples. Also only have Countries in the final able to vote.
    My favourite songs were from Azerbaijan Russia Hungary Belarus Iceland . Bonnie Tyler was all sung out due to earlier engagements. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 28 May 2013 at 08:07
    Please don't select "Parken" in Copenhagen!
    2001 were the worst ever ESC- final in this century. Select a smaller city to show Europe and the whole world that Denmark not are equal to Copenhagen (Ströget, Tivoli, Eastegade, Nyhavn and Lille havfrue)
    Show all OGAE fans and TV viewer that Denmark will be the best ever host of ESC, take care of the all fans as SVT done this year and make the ESC to the largest City party this century, with happy fans and citizens and a lot off happenings in the City outside the arena.
    Make the production without waving flags during the songs, but show a lot of happy ESC fans and their big and small flags before and after every songs.
    Please use only a small area close and around the stage, and make the rest of parket with seating at a higher level, maybe the lowest row around the parket can be removed. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 28 May 2013 at 00:13
    @Eugene UK why are you so keen on blaming on the Nordic countries?? and btw. uk viewing not impressive as you want it to be.. 7,5 mill to a pop of what ca 60 mill? Norway had 1.5 mill on a pop of ca 5 mill.. Second i see no wrong in points from Norway or Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, Malta all where good and deserving. Hungary a sweet song, very close to the music that is listen to in these countries. I still have Belgium on my head. and if you so keen maybe you should start questioning why Sweden gave Cyprus 12p last year as well. I think the votes are valid and many are of whom i liked and also voted for.. unlike Russia, Azer which made me wanna puke. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 27 May 2013 at 23:11
    Dear all,
    Ranking from 1 to 25 and adding rankings is insane since only the 10 best get points !!! Moreover below 10th position it is less than 2% of votes and how can the jury classify 25 contries in only 15 minutes during the show ? ... Ranking the best 10 is difficult enough, like was always done before. I don't want to pay 1 euro for voting to send it in the garbage because of my stupid jury disliked the favourite song of millions of fans !!!
    I am still waiting for the release of splitted votes from the organiser to see how did my jury (and others) messed up !!!
    Maybe Danmark desserved its victory (my favourites are Hungary and Italie) but everyone wants to know whether Danmark won because of the public (better IMO), the jury or strange calculations...

    Maxime report to the moderator
  • Posted on 27 May 2013 at 23:05
    Dear all,
    Some people argue that jury has a risk to cheat or being corrupted while people may favor block voting or diaspora. Then let's keep both in a fair manner. Here is my proposal very simple : keep both but in a fair mode. You assign points alternatively by picking choices from public and jury without adding rankings.
    For the public : 12 + 7 + 5 + 4 + 1 = 29 points (1rst to 5th)
    For the jury : 10 + 8 + 6 + 3 + 2 = 29 points (1rst to 5th)
    In this way, both public and jury count truly for 50%. No need for strange calculation to end up with 12 points with the 6th from public and 2rd from jury (Italian example where Romania was voted by 23% got 1 point while Danmark got 12 points with only 3% of televote).
    Sincerely yours,
    Maxime report to the moderator
  • Posted on 27 May 2013 at 17:41
    It is soooo simple my friends!Any country has problem with the jury voting just leave ESC as a protest!Just like Turkey last year! The absence of Turkey was a very bad development in the contest and the organisers wanted them back,cause Turkey had very good results and of course many people who voted and gave money to the telephone lines!Everyone want them back!
    This will be the only solution to ''push'' them!
    Televoting was not a mistake!In 2009 televoters voted Norway 1st,in 2010 Germany(Who had no future in the contest with the televotes since 2008!),Azerbaijan 1st in 2011,Sweden 1st in 2012...And i'm sure Denmark in 2013!!!!
    So leave the excuses and just send better songs.Televoting was not the problem!Juries always put Turkey,Greece out of the top-10 and Russia last in 2011(!!!),cause they don't like our success in the televotes!
  • Posted on 27 May 2013 at 01:32
    This year has highlighted once again why the song contest needs to return to 100% televotes.

    Those asking for 100% juries clearly are not old enough to remember the shambles that was jury voting in the past. Had juries been allowed during the 2000's we would not have had excellent songs winning like 'Everywhere that I am (Turkey), Wild dances (Ukraine), Molitva (Serbia), My number one (Greece) or even Finland's Lordi for that matter. No jury would have awarded points to Lordi's great performance (Finland). If you're still in doubt, look at what happened to Romania this year.

    Last point: I know what I LIKE and i dont need a jury to tell me what I like. I think many millions feel the same. This year the real winner was between Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Norway! Denmark was nice, but it wasn't fantastic. The show stopper this year was definitely Cezar from Romania, and i suspect that he pulled a Latvia this year and actually won. The jury votes are trying to conceal that fact! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 27 May 2013 at 01:18
    We are told on the night of every ESC contest that the votes have been tallied and verified. If the data is avaialable there is no reason why they haven't been made public yet. The EBU could have put a stop to all these vote rigging allegations within hours by releasing all the jury votes and televotes. The fact they didn't has only raised people's suspicions even further.

    Like many, I suspect that the real reason for not releasing the televotes and jury votes is that that the REAL winner of 2013 ESC is not the one presented to Europe on the night, and once released, this data will embarrass the EBU even further by revealing this fact. The reality is they can tamper with the jury votes (which are not externally verified) to try and back up their claim of the 'Winner', but they cant tamper with the televotes, which are verified externally. Maybe this is the real reason why they're delaying teh release of teh votes?? report to the moderator
  • Posted on 27 May 2013 at 01:06
    Denmark is not a winner!!!
    This is primitive trash!
    We are so sorry that poorly developed Europe is deceived again ((.

    We have eyes and ears.
    The real winners of ESC 2013 are Ukraine, Russia and Azerbaijan!
    You stole our victory! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 26 May 2013 at 17:15
    A transparent result would include releasing the raw vote totals. Will you be doing that? report to the moderator
  • Posted on 26 May 2013 at 15:06
    It is no confidence either by the way that jury voting happens on Friday, when no one is watching! Has anyone checked who the people are on the juries and how they are selected?!?!?! Have a look who the 'experts' are!!! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 26 May 2013 at 15:02
    It is hilarious that some people ask for more jury voting when the numbers demonstrate clearly that the Nordics has turned the competition into a joke and until this is changed the final will be moving between Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo!!! There are irregularities and we are still talking about the imaginary effect of neighbourhood voting. Votes have been stolen and they have admitted to it. The competition and result is void. Simples. No country can win just because they are voted by their close neighbours. It is also statistically proven. But the dirty game of the Nordics, that someone has already demonstrated in their comments below, is just clear. They were the worse block voting countries even before juries were introduced anyway. They just talk about ex-Soviets and ex-Yugoslavs to detract from the real thieves. Turkey pulled out because of it. Others should follow until the voting is cleaned up. I can’t believe that no one has resigned yet in the EBU.
    And I ask once again. Why does it take until 18th June to release the break down between televoting and juries? I bet my house that the result is completely different!!! That’s why!
    I assume that next year the executive producer of the contest will be the uncle of the the winner who will be from Norway report to the moderator
  • Posted on 26 May 2013 at 13:51

    It's Nordic countries favouring Nordic country favourites and not voting for the other favourites. How can you vote for a song that is not one of the best? 33 countries gave 0 points to Finland, so that is not surprising the 4 you mention gave 0 points too and only 5 countries gave Finland any points at all. report to the moderator