armenia flag

Emotions were running high last night as is always the case following a semi-final. But things took a turn for the worse in the winners’ press conference with some politically charged questions raised by the press. One such incident raised was that of Armenia’s representative, Iveta Mukuchyan, holding the flag of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh during the semi-final results as shown in the image above.

This incident saw both Armenian and Azeri journalists asking questions and making heated statements about the move. The EBU, following these exchanges, have made a statement, found below.

The EBU and the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, strongly condemn the brandishing of the Nagorno-Karabakh flag in the Green Room during the live transmission of the first Semi Final on 10 May and considers the flag’s appearance in the transmission harmful to the Eurovision Song Contest brand.

The Reference Group has decided to sanction Armenian broadcaster, AMPTV, in accordance with the Rules. The nature of the sanction will be determined, at the latest, by the next Reference Group meeting in June.

We are acutely aware of the tense situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and the ongoing tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We consider the appearance of a flag of a highly disputed territory in the live transmission a serious breach of Rule 1.2.2h of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest stating that “no messages promoting any organisation, institution, political cause or other, company, brand, products or services shall be allowed in the Shows”.

Furthermore, the EBU has imposed a zero-tolerance policy towards the Armenian delegation with regards to breaching the Rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, in particular in relation to the aforementioned incident.

The Reference Group wishes to point out that any further breach of the Rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest could lead to disqualification from this year’s event or any successive editions.

Earlier today, Iveta made the following Facebook post about the incident;

The Armenian broadcaster ARMTV so far has not made any statement.

Stay tuned to ESC United for all of the updates live from Stockholm!

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