After months riddled in scandal and controversy, The Eurovision jury system has once again been revamped as The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) releases an updated set of rules to be used in next year’s contest in Copenhagen, taking a big step towards a transparent ESC result.
The changes to the rules, released earlier today by the Reference Group of the EBU, focused on making the juries more transparent. On May 1, roughly a week before the contest begins, each member of the juries from the participating countries will be announced publicly. Not only will the identities of the jurors be transparent, but each individual juror’s ranking will be released as well. These individual rankings, together with the total split results for each country’s televoting and jury results will be announced after the final on May 10. The new rules may aid in pressuring jury members to vote without bias as any strange patterns will be noticeable.
Another addition of note to the Eurovision mechanics is a tool on the official contest website where anyone can submit evidence of voting irregularities. The ESC’s voting partners, Digame and PwC, will use the submissions from jury members and fans alike to aid in the investigation of any anomalies.
These revisions come after some highly-publicized allegations of vote manipulation that surfaced after the result of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. Such incidents, including alleged vote buying and jury rigging in various Eurovision countries, prompted outrage from fans and government officials alike, bringing the contest’s results and rules into disrepute.
“Through this increased openness, we want to assure everyone – participants, press and fans – can come to understanding of how we obtain a valid result.” said Dr. Frank Dieter-Feiling, chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group.
These changes only affect the 2014 contest and cannot be applied retroactively, according to Eurovision Song Contest Excecutive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand, who announced the forthcoming rules yesterday over Twitter:
An exciting day ahead: Tomorrow (Friday) we will release the 2014 #Eurovision Song Contest Rules, ft. some important changes
— Jon Ola Sand (@jonolasand) September 19, 2013
“We believe in the independence of every jury member,” said Sand in an interview on Eurovision.tv. “They are professionals who are used to be evaluated. I even believe the increased transparency, and the fact that their votes are on display, will help them vote independently. However, there are always pros and cons and we will therefore scrutinise this very carefully.”
Rules regarding the status of the Big 5 – The United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain – which have similarly caused contention remain unchanged. Rules regarding the order of the entries, whether drawn randomly or assigned by the producers, are not stated. The allocation of countries to their respective semi-finals and the order in which the host country, Denmark, appears in the Final will be drawn as in last year’s contest.
The full updated set of rules can be viewed on the Eurovision.tv website here (PDF).
What do you think of the updated rules for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest? Let us know in the comments below, or drop by the ESC United forums to join the discussion.