91 Comments

Norway Was About To Pull Out Of Eurovision Final


  Norway – No, it wasn’t premonition of their last place this year.The Norwegian national broadcaster NRK was apparently seriously considering to pull out of the Eurovision Song Contest Final on Saturday after a team of their journalists was harassed by Azeri authorities at the airport, when they were about to leave the country.

The team recorded comedic programs with Iranian-Norwegian Amir Asgharnejad, a comedian who pretended to be a reporter from an Iranian TV station asking people on the street and in the Norwegian team mock questions revealing prevailing ultra-conservative views on homosexuality and other issues.Before their departure to Norway, they were stopped by police officials at the check-in, reportedly harassed and threatened. The Azeri officials apparently thought their comedic program was an insult to their country.

Hearing about the event, NRK  discussed to withdraw Tooji from the final. “But we chose to go ahead (with Tooji’s performance),” said NRK’s program director, Per Arne Kalbakk. “Pulling Tooji out of Eurovision would have caused bigger problems for the arrangers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and the artists. We decided it would have been the wrong reaction.”

NRK has called the attack on their journalists “unacceptable” and has contacted the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and EBU officials. Rumors suggest that the EBU may consider excluding Azerbaijan from the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest and even from the EBU.

Read the full story here!

Source= NewsinEnglish.no

91 comments on “Norway Was About To Pull Out Of Eurovision Final

  1. If all the inacceptable events that were reported from Baku during the two ESC weeks are true, I think that a one or two year ban on Azerbaijan would be an appropriate reaction.
    On the other hand, excluding the country from the EBU and closing the door on any European perspective would be all wrong imo because it would push those forces that think that Europe (and the values and proceedings Europe stands for) never was a good idea. Such a reaction would most ecrtainly not help human and civil rights, freedom of speech etc.

    • Hi toggie :) Actually the Nrk team was held back at a room at the airport py police (7 or 8 people) making the plane wait over an hour. The young stunt-reporter was forced to take off his clothes and they forced him to stamp on the Persian flag and they said they will come to Norway and kill him if he told what happened. They told him that he had stamped on the Azeri flag when what happened was that his foot come near the flag unintentionally. The poor guy was scared for his life and still is. They filmed him and if they send a video of him stampin on the flag of his nation…what could happen to him? No wonder I had a bad feeling about the result in the final and why we ended last.

      • Hi Sara, thanks for giving the details of this unappealing affair.

        Btw, during the two ESC weeks I realised that Tooji is a great guy (not a great singer though). In the end I even wanted him to qualify for the final, and he did.

        • Toggie: I saw you realized that about Tooji..it made me happy :)…he really is a great guy thats why I felt so bad for him since he had birthday on the day of the final. I even saw you voted for him (for someone else, didnt you?)..well, Its not the end of the world though ;)

          • Yes, I voted for Tooji in Haruna’s name. She is from Ecuador! :)

            • How cute :) It would have been fun if that would have given us 1 point from Germany :p I actually have a sponsored child in Ecuador :) Angel Daniel is his name.

            • You see, everything falls in place and makes sense at the end of the day. Good night!

            • I accidentally hit the wrong button…I definitely meant to give this comment thumbs up.

      • Sara please it’s extremely silly to think that they fixed that for your singer because of that, I mean results in the final! You really think that? :O LOL :D

      • all of this was much more sinister than you all think – suffice going to Immigrant Persian websites and read the rubbish they write there about Azerbaijan – not only the government but also people, culture, traditions… Azerbaijan is sick and tired of this behaviours form certain persians who appear to be very racist against Azeris and provoke instability in the country – they are ready to use any opportunity to do so as they don’t need Azerbaijan strong – they fear 25-35000000 Azeris in Iran will want to join secular and prosperous Azerbaijan. Iranians did not believe Azerbaijan will ever prosper and since it started showing the signs of prosperity, they started to worry and create all sorts of nonsense around Azerbaijan, to discredit ir and destabilise it. Persians are very racist people. Don’t take my words do your own reseach – go see their websites! This was not just a stunt reporter like Ali G – this was much more sinister and deserved every bit of treatment by Azeri police!

        • Forgot to add – if any of that about what happened (if happened) at the airport was true and not continuation of the black PR “stunt”! I don’t believe a single word of it. Was any of it filmed or recorded, to prove it? And not only the Azeri officials thought it was an insult but ALL Azeris, with no exception whatsoever! It was not NRK but Azerbaijan who should have showed officially they were as a nation offended. Some things you just DON’T joke about – it was a pure provocation in Danish style – mocking “those bad muslims-european-wannabes”! “Behaviour not acceptable”? Well, was the journalists behaviour acceptable? NO! it was a pure provocation…The fact that this behaviour of the NRK was not condemned officially shows how hard Azerbaijan tries not to cause any conflict (or rather be provoked by such baits). I also don’t think most in Azerbaijan (including the police if what they say happened at all) realised it was the National broadcaster who set this stupid thing up! Most Azeris will not understand WHY the heck was this needed to the Danish broadcaster? Is this democracy? No, it’t pure provocation and disrespect. The subject is just way TOOOO sensitive for Azerbaijan to make jokes about. I see it as just another failure on West’s side to show knowledge of sensitivities, diplomacy, wisdom, maturity and that their model is something nations would think twice before they follow :-) Cartoons, cartoon-like characters like this idiot they sent to Baku – it;s just TOO much, sorry. I believe they (NRK) realised what stupidity it was hence did not pull out! You know what, somehow, I still don’t believe NRK arranged this, if they sponsored that trip, they were fooled into it by the Azeri-hating persians, nothing else… I just cannot believe anyone is stupid enough to do such thing knowingly and willingly :-) And what, did EBU exclude Azerbaijan – no, because they know all the truth behind everything and they side with Azerbaijan which is being purely victimised in the West! So, again Azeri haters, put your flags down, you’ve lost again…

    • That would never happen though would it, unfortunatly the EBU seem to live in their owm little world, they are naive and oblivious to what goes on in azerbaijan, after displacing those poor azeri civilians out of their homes just for baku crysal hall to be built, its a complete violation of human rights, if the EBU had sense and saw this, the truth they would have moved eurovision to rome this year! I’m disgusted with the EBU to allow eurovison to go ahead in that country as people loose thier homes, its immoral and unjust!

    • The EBU must wonder why they ever allowed Azerbaijan to participate let alone host this contest… Time to throw them out. They are in no way a democracy. Corruption … 12 points. Human Rights… Nul

  2. This happened two days before the final…

    • Hi there dear Sara :)

      • Hi oxi :) Time to look forward for next Eurovision, hehe. I think I need some vacation before it all starts again. i was so depressed for Tooji after the final. What a birthday celebration for him. :( How are you?

        • Hehe, I think I need some ESC break too! I’m doing all right i guess, waiting for rainy weather to go away and summer to show up! ;) :)

        • Sara HIIIII! :-* , just be realistic, he was extremely weak and his song is weak! :(

          What about drunk Loreen after ESC victory at press conference! she was completely drunk, she said so many funny things and she forgot trophy at the desk, ppl needed to take it with them and bring, because she forgot, she was like on drugs! LOOL :D

          • Marko: She isnt a party girl, she said so…so she probably got drunk after only a couple of champagne glasses, hehe She said she wanted to escape into the woods in silence and peace when she got home. I dont think she is very fond of too much attention…

  3. Appalling behaviour by the Azeri authorities indeed! As for the EBU/Azerbaijan relations, I’d say that: this is what you get when you spoil a child ;)

  4. Seriously , they could take a 1 year break…

  5. http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html
    Azerbaijan is placed 162 in the Press Freedom Index. Worse then countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Norway can be proud of their first place on that ranking. A bit more important then Tooji’s last place.

  6. I feel bad that this will only hurt the people of Azerbasijan and the ones loving Eurovision, if they will be escluded from the contest. Its not their fault…but what to do.

  7. Attacking journalists is unaccepatble, but being disrespectful towards Islam (for a second time) is sad as well…yes there is freedom of speech but Norwegian media should more respectful when do fun (well Nordic fun has not been succesful anyway) with religioussocio cultural stuff…

    • I agree with you Dino, well said… I could never be disrespectful towards any country, especially if I decided to go there! Ppl in the south is more sensitive when it’s about religion,flag and national feelings while we are totally relaxed in the north… Btw I am used to travel and I had never problems ( I have been 3 times in Iran)
      No discussion the journalists were treaten bad if this story is true.. But what has this to dó with ESC? You Can complain the police behaviour and go to court etc..

      • Great comment! :)

      • And also they went there to cover ESC not to criticize…this is open to speculations did they really went there to cover music or to be nearer to their ”subject” of criticism? As I said media should have been more careful. I remember some years ago that Norwegian media published some provoked scetches of Allah. Back then some Iranian fundamentalists worned Norway for revenge in case they do it again. Apparently Iranians have been ”watching” Norway all these years and as soon as media (IMO naive) went for the same thing….tehy attack!..i think it makes sense…

        • Dino the sketches were from Denmark and it wasn’t Allah but the prophet the journalist drawed. And I had no problem with obtaining visa to Iran the year after :)

      • Sorry, Roselil, I disagree. When you travel there as a private person, I agree 100 % but ESC is a totally different matter altogether. The contest is almost 60 years old, officially organised by the EBU (t anAliyev propaganda show) and representing a certain set of avlues Western Europe ageed upon after WW II. The Azerbaijani authorities treated all those values with contempt. Who f. e. can blame Armenia for not participating now that we know that there was even a ban on Armenian ESC songs in Euro Club? If not everyone is welcome, the EBU’s rules are broken, and such a violation of ESC rules askes for some kind of punishment. We should not let the dictators get away with anything just because we do not want to know better / tell anyone what to do. ESC is the result of a historical insight in Western Europe and every country participating in ESC should share those values and represent them in case they host. If they do not share those values, no problem. But then they shoul stay away from ESC too!

        • * (not an Aliyev …)
          * values
          * should

          Sorry, multitasking again …

          • Well Then EBU should Ban Many countries from ESC that can’t fulfill these values… Just imagine a northern journalist critizise Atatürk or make fun of him or make jokes with religion in Turkey and the police will let him go…I doubt it Can happen!
            Btw no problem Toggie you are multitasking and I am writing from an iPad that has his Way of writing and only suggests mé Danish word and different spellings Lol

            • Well, I didn’t really follow ESC when it was held in Turkey but I guess that you are right. However, I am pretty confident that Turkey would welcome all countries (Cyprus was there and came … what … 5th?) and would not make a propaganda show out of ESC if they hosted again. Being proud of and showing your culture is one thing, but propaganda of a country that has one of the worst human rights records is another.

              And don’t get me wrong, I do not think that Azerbaijan can function the way our Western and Northern democracies do. I am no fool and thus I am pretty aware of their geopolitical location. However, needing a bit more security / allowing less freedom and being a totalitarian kleptocracy (with all that implies) are two totally different things.

            • I see your point Toggie it was just an example… I am not expert ón AZ-AM issue or Turkey – Cyprus.. Maybe we shouldn’t compare it cause they are All different. I was sad when Armenia withdraw and I hoped EBU Would take action. Since they didn’t, well you think it’s ok, cause the EBU set the rules for the contest…
              I am not defending Azerbaijan but still Think Their human Rights things should be an issue for Amnesty and ESC for the people

            • But people were affected. During the grand final f. e. only people from certain countries (mainly AZE and TUR) were allowed to places in front of the stage. Obviously, a large contingent of Irish fans had to go somewhere else. The members of German Prinz Blog even decided not to attend the final at all because they felt harrassed by security staff disguised as normal audience during the jury final. A reporter from NDR was shouted at because she took pictures of construction sites (!!!) (of course they took her camera) etcetcetc. Sorry, but I cannot innocently enjoy a show when I know that those and much worse things are going on where the glittery affair is held. :( I agree that no country is perfect, but all the terrible things that have been reported from Azerbaijan over the last year could never happen in countries like Norway or Germany.

              If Angela Merkel had children, her 15 year old son would not own property worth 40 million € in Dubai only … I respect different cultures but I will never endorse injustice, exploiting people, torture and several other atrocious crimes.

  8. NOOOOOOOOOOOO Azerbaijan is the best ESC country! :( NOOOOOOOOOO Norway if you do that I will kill you! :( :(

    Or if you do that, then you have to buy AMAZING songs from Sweden every year to represent you! :P lol :D

    • Cyprus can take this honour :p If they promise ”amazing 12pts” :p

      • But Cyprus didn’t buy nice Swedish song, it wasn’t very good for me! :(

        I hope Annet Artani to represent Cyprus again! :-* With song written by Peter Yiannakis like in 2006! Or he to compose for somebody similar!

    • Marko: What the….?” If you do that Norway, I will kill you?” This has nothing to do with Norways decision, this is an EBU issue and decision. They are aware of what happened and they cant take it lightly. I think your comment is waaaaaay over what even I can accept from you Marko. You dissapointed me big time now. Maybe you would be happier if Norway withdraw instead?

      • I am glad that you finally realised … It took me far too long too. We are dealing with a fountain of hate here that will never run dry … :(

  9. So Azerbaijan couldn’t even go for a week without threatening some journalists who criticized their government – not even that one Eurovision week.
    It’s true that withdrawing from the final would have been a bit unpleasant for the organizers, but it would have perhaps attracted attention over the misdoings of the local authorities when it comes to freedom of speech.
    I don’t know if expelling Azerbaijan from the EBU would help now though… It would only let the country fall back into the shadow… I think that, on the contrary, Europe should keep “watching” Azerbaijan, as Anke said.

    • Exactly Anke was clever and accurate. Norwegian media IMO went for troubles instead. It was not clever if you ask me. Also according to the article these journalists were about to leave the country on Saturday…alarm! Weren’t suppose to stay there and cover the final? Also NRK send them to Baku tyo cover ESC why they kept themselves busy with non-esc-related stuff?

      • Because it was their right! A right that is part of Europe since 1789! It is every journalists right! And the EBU security didn’t only cover ESC-related events. People were supposed to be able to report on anything they lwanted…. I’m really shocked at some of the comments here…

      • Dino: Maybe you should know the fact before you write such things. NRK p3 (which is a radio station) wasnt there to cover the final, but they had accreditation as journalists. The radio station wasnt there to cover the final, thats why they left before the final. They were there to make a humor program. They asked stupid questions to Azerbaijan people on the streets and translated them into even more stupid funny norwegian. No one should be treated that way, that only shows something needs to be done in that country so that people can have freedom of speach. EBU was granted a promise by the government before they let them host, that all journalists would be treated in a good way and could work freely. I wonder how many times fex swedish media has made such humor programs about Norway in Norway. Should we react the same way, no…cause thankfully we live in a sivilized country with freedom of speach

  10. Wow, I’m shocked by some of the responses here (even one from Denmark :o) who thinks the way the Norwegian team were treated is okay. Roseli, did you read my message? The Norwegian team didnt disrespect the Azeri flag, gosh…that was what the police said as an excuse to do what they did to them. They forced the Norwegian-Persian guy to stamp on the Persian flag naked and they taped it and threathen him with his life if he told anyone what they did to him. This is totally unacceptable.

    • I am a bit surprised too, Sara. Do people really try to qualify freedom of speech and human rights in their defence of respecting alterity? :(

    • Sara pls Read my comment properly I didn’t Said that it was ok to be treaten like this.. And pls Toggie read it once again… I Said southern countries are more sensitive to things we Think are very normal.. We have a very relaxed relation to things and we cant compare. But I react differently from you, I am an active of Amnesty and I dó react ón the Streets,sms,demonstration instead writing things here

      • Of course you are right, Roselil, that some southern (in particular south eastern) countries are more sensitive when it comes to religion, national identity, sex & gender etc. and I respect that as long as the behaviour does not infringe on what I think of as basic human and civil rights. And I do not think that all European countries should be exactly the same either but there is a certain basis to Europe (based on enlightenment) where I won’t compromise. I am a member of AI too, but being an ESC fan, i simply cannot ignore if my beloved song contest is damaged by people like the Aliyev clan who only care for themselves. Their nasty touch tainted ESC’s integrity … just as it has destroyed so many lives in Azerbaijan … :(

      • *activist member of Amnesty İnternational. … Why do bother writing here at all!!! Gosh

        I am chocked Marko!!!

  11. Hmmm…. Well, I think I leave ths site in silence. I just wanted to write what happened (in this topic) since it was about my country and it has been on the news headlines here. I wont bother you anymore since “we” are useless to discuss with. Nighty!

    • Good night sweet Sara. I hope to see you around again … although all possibility for honesty and … dare I say it? … innocence has been destroyed here. Whatever you write, you will be attacked and insulted. :(

  12. Pfff… This is a site about eurovision or policy? ;)

    • Exactly! Why don’t we leave politics to politicians?

      • Because the Azerbaijani authorities used ESC for their political propaganda, I gues …

        Claiming to be unpolitical is pretty hypocrite anyway because there is no escaping politics. Claiming to be unpolitical is as political as claiming to be political!

  13. Yes Azerbiajan to be banned from eurovision that is the best news I’ve heard in ages, I used to love azerbiajan when they dubuted in 2008 but now I completly detest the country after learning of its horrid truths on how its treats its people, the country is just like Belarus and Russia! Banning Azerbiajan will please Armenia for sure! But to now learn that Norway came last not just becuase of the anti gay voting block and the fact he was iranian, but also becuase of this is ridiculous, the eastern countries must have found out and decided to work together in giving norway not votes, the eastern jurys would have been manipulating the votes. EUROVISIONS NEW NAME:
    THE GREAT SLAVIC USSR STICH UP CONTEST!

    • I think this post reveals more about your anti-Slavic attitude than about either Norway or Azerbaijan.

      • Oh my, this site is full of RACISTS!

      • No it isn’t that atall I like some of the former USSR countries entries (Russia 2006, 2007,2008 and 2009, Ukraine 2004, 2009 and 2010, ALL ARMENIA’s entries, Azerbiajan except 2008, Estonia 2009, 2011 and 2012, Georgia 2010 and11, Moldova 2006 studio version, 2009, 2010, 2012, Belarus 2012 ) but I’m realy fed up with the fact that when they do send a load of crap they avoid geting last or poor placings and instead get underserved placings, unlike when ever a western european country sends crap they allways get the derserved poor placing, It realy anoys me, and thats why I’d would love to see the difference it would make to some underperfoming countries results in this contest if EBU weakend this voting block. Just think Portugal, Austria or Switzerland may win and Netherlands would qualify at last!

      • oh and the reason why there where wasn’t that much content of either Norway or Azerbiajan in my post was becuase I was generalising, I could type out a whole essay on why Azerbiajan should be banned after their behaviour this year when hosting ESC, ESC 2012 has been used by the Azeri giverment as a propaganda/political platform, what sort of persident gets involved with something like the Eurovision song contest, has his own wife organising the event, and has their son in law perform as an interval act it just would never happen in a diplomatic, democratic country, It just wouldnt!

    • Exactly! That’s why Norway, Germany and Sweden won in the last 4 years… oh c’mon

      • erm Norway was represented by a belarussian actaully! And the reason for Swedish and German wins I believe is due to the introduction of the Jury, Germany would have never won if the jury hadn’t being there to weaken the block voting.

        • Total bullshit. Lena won the televote too.

          Gosh! What has happened to this site? We used to have discussions here, but now we are flooded by trolls and haters. :(

    • @ Euroviisontimea

      I’m utterly speechless, you delete my and Adrian’s comments and some others who don’t agree with you and you don’t say anything for this!!!! :O :O :O I’m SHOCKED! Not to mention delete, you probably don’t even thing to delete it in your dreams! and I don’t see some other democracy fighters to say ANYTHING about this PURE RACIST comment! I’m sad and speechless at the same time! :/ I can’t believe eurovisiontins, i bet you will delete this comment of mine and you won’t do anything about Scott Hirst’s comment! :O :/ :(

    • horrid truths? Pity you! Don’t trust media so blindly…Don;t be so gullible… The REAL truth is VERY different!

  14. This also explains our 25th placing too after BBC made a documentary on the dirty secret behind Eurovision 2012 and also the media reports they made of the evictions from the baku crystal hall site. But then again our 25th place was a well deserved placing, unlike Norway :( feel realy upset for the norwegians, it was not fair they didnt get the right placing they deserved, they need to send Tooji back next year to sweden, so they can achieve the result they should have got this year, if it hadn’t been for Azerbiajan, Russia and the Estern Block. (Please excuse my poor spelling on this site I’m dyslexic)

  15. I am not surprised by now honestly..just another one to add to the pile..EBU should take action and penalize Azerbaijan accordingly for everything that has happened these weeks..That said exclusion from every future contest is going to isolate them further and would be a step back to any effort made to help such countries stand on their feet in terms of political freedoms..

  16. No more ESC in Baku, please!

  17. Azerbaijan is a small country but it brings so much headache, it’s a superpower of headaches. I hope it will not win again until they get their act right. They should certainly be allowed to participate as any other member of EBU but what a problematic host they are!

  18. I feel like it was kind of disrespectful, I mean harassing journalists is a no no, but NRK should probably have reconsidered filming such a segment. It’s somewhat understandable from Azerbaijan’s POV since tensions with Iran are building up…

  19. Azerbiaijan should have been banned from the contest since 2009. what a shame EBU did not punish them and obviously won’t do it this time either. its all about politics and money.

  20. Ooo… wrong tag. Should be “Eurovision Song Contest 2012”, not “Eurovision Song Contest 2013”.

  21. […] Norway Was About To Pull Out Of Eurovision Final (eurovisiontimes.wordpress.com) […]

  22. Poor, poor, Azerbaijan. Never mind, time will show to those who are so negative about it now… Azerbaijan doesn’t deserve all this… Azerbaijan is really trying hard but the world is just too ignorant of it’s problems :-(

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