Eurovision 2016 – The host venue of this year’s Eurovson, Globen arena, earlier uploaded a document outlining this year’s flag policy… and all hell broke loose. The policy (here) not only dictated the size of flags as usual but also listed flags which were prohibited, showing pictorial images of such flags including The Palestine Liberation Organization and ISIS, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabach, the Basque movement, the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus, Transnistria and Crimea.
Flags of political movements and extremist groups will not be welcome. Nor will banners and posters written in anything but English.
The document clearly says ‘The official flag policy was accepted and approved by the ESC Reference Group, 27 April, 2016’
The policy also states
“Rainbow flags and the European Union flag will be tolerated provided they will, according to the evaluation of the organisers, not be used as tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show. Particularly, the organisers request and urge the fan community to respect and appreciate the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest.” This resulted in LGBT sites quickly voicing concerns about what many say is censorship.
UK fans reacted angrily to the rule that there should be no ‘Local, regional or provincial flags’ meaning Welsh fans in theory could not wave their red dragons in support of Joe from the UK entry. Fans have already said that they have raised the matter with the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
After a pretty huge and immediate backlash, the EBU quickly posted the following official statement on its Facebook account:
“On Thursday afternoon, a draft version of the flag policy for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest was published on the website of the Globe Arena and ticket agency AXS. The document included a non-exhaustive list of examples of flags that under the flag policy are prohibited in the venue. This document was not intended to be published.
The organisers understand and acknowledge the sensitivities of presenting a selection of flags of organisations and territories, each of them of very different nature. The organisers apologise to everyone who feels offended by the list.
The EBU has asked the Globe Arena and AXS to immediately remove the document that includes the flag examples, and to publish the official document, without the examples, instead.
The official and final flag policy document will be published on the official website, Eurovision.tv, later today, along with a full explanation.”
At the time of going to press Globen has not removed the document and nothing has been published on the official Eurovision site.