EBU confirms voting fraud as rules are tightened
Following last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, allegations of voting fraud came to light.
Starting with an online Lithuanian newspaper, the story of Russian-speaking men allegedly attempting to buy votes for Azerbaijan by recruiting Lithuanians to vote as much as possible on multiple SIM-cards was published.
Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, commented that it would be directly against the contest rules and an investigation was launched.
Now, the conclusion of the investigation by the EBU states that attempts at unfairly influencing the televoting result of the 2013 contest were detected, but that they were immediately registered as invalid and dropped. Thus, the 2013 result is still valid, as confirmed by the EBU voting supervisors Digame and PwC.
“We did everything you may expect when something like this happens, ranging from research to interviews, to corresponding and talking with our Azeri Member Ictimai TV, to data analysis,” Sand explained to eurovision.tv.
The conclusion further states that no national broadcaster was found to have been aware of the fraudulent votes. Still, the Reference Group has decided to tighten the rules, introducing a penalty of exclusion for a maximum of three years for the broadcaster involved, if irregularities are found before, during, or after the contest.
The rules for the 2014 contest addressed the fraud allegations by introducing several new measures, attempting to create a contest that is more fair.