Icelandic Public Broadcasting Fined For Hatari's Palestinian Flag Statement - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Public Broadcasting Fined For Hatari’s Palestinian Flag Statement

Published September 23, 2019

Andie Fontaine
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The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has decided to fine Icelandic public broadcasting (RÚV) €5,000 for Hatari’s displaying of the Palestinian flag during the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest last May, RÚV reports. RÚV has issued a statement objecting to the fine, saying there is no way they can bear responsibility for Hatari’s action.

As reported, Hatari finished in 10th place at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Tel Aviv, but it was not their song, ‘Hatrið Mun Sigra’, which elicited the strongest response—rather, it was their displaying scarves stylised after the Palestinian flag that kicked off a slew of responses of both praise and condemnation.

The display of the Palestinian flag was, in the eyes of the EBU, a violation of the song contest’s rules about sending overtly political messages during the competition. As such, they have put the onus on RÚV, who sent Hatari to Tel Aviv to perform after the band won a phone-in vote, to pay the price.

“In our letter to the EBU, we detailed how RÚV took every possible step to ensure that the competition rules would be followed, and that it is the wrong conclusion, or at least unjustifiable, to fine RÚV for violating the rules,” RÚV’s statement reads in part. “RÚV is of the opinion that television broadcasting companies that take part in the competition can never fully prevent one of their artists from saying or doing something that could possibly break the rules.”

That said, RÚV has provided assurances that they will still take part in Eurovision 2020, which will be held in Rotterdam.

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