Participating broadcasters will be held more accountable to ensure voting integrity in the Eurovision Song Contest. The EBU has tightened the rules after an official investigation into registered attempts to unfairly influence televoting in the 2013 contest. The investigation confirmed that attempts were detected, but that they did not succeed due to the strict security procedures in place. The respective votes were subsequently declared invalid in accordance with contest rules.
No evidence was found to link any participating broadcaster to any improper activity or to suggest that any broadcaster was aware of the origin of the activity. But to strengthen the credibility of the voting and to further protect the Eurovision Song Contest brand, the Reference Group has tightened measures to ensure voting integrity.
“Just as football clubs are in principle accountable for the behaviour of their fans, we will hold – on a case-by-case basis – participating broadcasters accountable and make them responsible to prevent voting irregularities in favour of their entry,” said Dr Frank Dieter Freiling, chairman of the Reference Group. A longer interview with Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the contest, can be found here.
If voting irregularities are detected before, during or after the contest in favour of any represented country, the Reference Group will automatically initiate procedures which carry a penalty of exclusion of the respective participating broadcaster from the contest for a maximum of three consecutive years.
In September 2013, the EBU tightened jury rules and increased openness about each judge’s individual vote for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest.