Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Russian jury investigated after streaming their deliberations

We've woken to the news this morning that the Russian jury is being investigated by the EBU after one of their number streamed segments of their deliberations during the first jury semi-final by Periscope.

During the stream, viewers could see the five jury members watching the Netherlands and Armenian entries and discussing their votes, including such choice comments as 'my husband is Armenian, so I favour Armenia' - parts of the votes of one of the jurors can clearly been seen on screen too, including the fact that she has marked down Moldova and Hungary, and likes the Netherlands.

Now, what is the EBU to do about this? There's nothing in the rules to say you can't stream your jury voting, because, of course, who would even think of doing that? More problematic is the fact that we hear one juror favouring Armenia because of her husband's nationality (which would potentially breach the rule that jurors pledge that there is nothing preventing them from voting independently), and that we've seen some elements of a jury's preference which should be kept secret.

In the past, if a jury voting has been disqualified, the country's televote solely stands. This year, because every country needs to produce a valid jury vote and televote for the system to work, the rules state:
If – for whatever reason – a country cannot deliver a valid jury result, a substitute result is calculated by the jury result of a pre-selected group of countries. These groups and their composition have been pre-approved by the EBU permanent services and the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest.
So, if the EBU decide the breach here is serious enough to cancel the whole Russian jury vote, this is what they would have to do. They would also presumably have the option of automatically doing the same for the final, or demanding the Russians find five new jurors. Or will they, as has so often happened in the past, just give the Russians a slap on the wrist and tell them not to be so silly in the future?

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