34 Comments

Campaign to Make Eurovision ‘Viewer-Friendly’


Eurovision Campaign – A campaign has been started to make The Eurovision Song Contest  ‘viewer-friendly’ for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Campaign manager, Nicole Mendes, says that unfortunately, people with photosensitive epilepsy can only enjoy 20%-30% of the performances.  The flashing lights, strobe effects and flashing images accompanying the artists’ performances make it impossible to watch without the risk of having a seizure.

While the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) does provide a warning for people who are sensitive to flashing lights, the amount of flashing images can be as risky for those with photosensitive epilepsy.

Mendes says it does not have to be this way.

“Music is not fireworks, music is feeling” – Salvador Sobral, Eurovision winner 2017.

The ESC 2017 saw Portugal’s Salvador Sobral win with an overwhelming majority vote using a simplistic, intimate, non-strobe effect performance. This dynamic shift in style is indicative of how Eurovision can connect powerfully with the public without any need for flashing lights or strobe effects.

By removing the flashing lights and strobes, the ESC will acknowledge people with photosensitive epilepsy and reach a millions of new target audience for viewership. Simple lights can be useful, but as can be seen in 2017 Eurovision, no flashing is required for a show to be successful.

This campaign to make the ESC more ‘viewer-friendly’ is calling for signatures on a petition aimed at the EBU and ESC to remove flashing lights, strobe effects and flashing images from artist performances.

If you wish t0 support the campaign, the petition is available at: https://www.change.org/p/remove-the-flashing-lights-and-images-from-eurovision

34 comments on “Campaign to Make Eurovision ‘Viewer-Friendly’

  1. Were do we sign for an ear-friendly campaign too ? :P
    ♪ ♫ Now my heart awakes to the sound of sileeeeeeence
    and it beaaaaaats to the sound of sileeeeence ♪ ♫

  2. I can understand the issue and I have had problems watching a few entries myself like Finland 2014 and Georgia 2016, however I have loved a lot of acts that have used a lot of lighting and strobe effects. Some are unneccessary, but others really do enhance the performances immensly like Norway 2013 and Latvia 2015.

  3. There can never be perfect solutions, but ESC was/is relying too much on flashy and ott stage presentations. Less is very often more; the problem is that this kind of ‘less’ often demands more talented live vocals and therein lies the problem. There is a need for more emotional content and less robotic, barren performances.

  4. Where can I sign to make esc elitist-free so that people like Sobral cannot compete ?

    I respect people with epilepsy and other viewing issues but this seems fake to me and set up by the Sobral fanbase sorry. EBU already provides the relevant warnings and thats all it needs to do. Everything else is invasive in terms of the artistic freedom of each participant and broadcaster.

  5. While I do understand the issue, such a decision would infringe onto the freedom of artistic expression imo. I recommend to do what I do, even though I am not sensitive to the staging elements addressed: Close your eyes and let the music speak. :)

  6. I have to say, I find some of the comments above rather inappropriate.

    I mean, whether one likes an entry or a vocal performance is a matter of taste and what values you have about what a song should be like. I mean, I am usually not a fan of shouty vocal performances either, and I do prefer the songs to contain more that just a hit template.

    But this petition is not about a taste issue, but about something that actually causes damage to some viewers.

  7. Eurovision Safe?……this could be hijacked and used as a campaign by those Eurovision sceptics and haters who cant stand the show every year.

    I feel bad for anyone who suffers from epilepsy but to be fair, there are warnings at the beginning of each song’s 3 minute song promotion that there will be strobe lights and flashing images that may affect epilepsy sufferers.

    • Not all broadcasters do that. There are no such warnings in DR’s broadcast for instance. But it would be good if they were all obliged to do it.

      • I think it would be a good idea if participating broadcasters were obliged to make these warnings. It’s not as if giving a warning before each presentation costs more. BBC usually just put up a small written warning prior to song and the commentator reads out the warning too…….. it’s no extra financial effort for something as important as this.

      • Yeah I have only seen the BBC do so. That would be a good step in the right direction doh to actually force the broadcasters to give at least a warning before entries that has these lighting effects.

    • But the argument is to make all performances available to those viewers as well.

      • I dont think (certainly in last two years) there have been any more than maybe 2 presentations that have given a “strobe/flashing lights” warning before their act, out of almost 40 countries. I dont think it would be too much trouble if those few acts with strobes, etc modified their presentation. Of course, each year and each act is different so it has to be down to individual artistic licence. I think the majority of participants would be ok modifying their acts,……. but of course there will always be prima donnas insisting on having and getting their own way.

  8. But what is the percentage of people with photosensitive epilepsy?

    The campaign is more to reduce the budget of the show, rather than making the show more viewer friendly, IMO

  9. I’m doubtful as to whether this should be used as a reason for not having strobing lights in Eurovision. One cannot please everyone, and other groups of people may crave other things changed in the contest for equally legitimate reasons. It’s not easy.

    That being said: For me personally, strobing lights, pyro, fireworks and other spectacular effects have always represented a development of the contest that I am very much against. It doesn’t make better television; quite the contrary.

    Clearly a visual presentation can underline or comment on a song’s content in a good manner, but in general less is more. The more spectacular it has to be, and the more extreme effects it contains, the more it just becomes a bombardment of our senses – and it leaves very little space for reflection. You don’t get the time to rest and think about what is going on musically and visually. It just becomes a noise.

    That’s one of the reasons why I often enjoy watching old contests from before 2000 more. Clearly the visual side means something here too, but usually it is more understated and more down-to-earth, even for uptempo songs. In the 1979 contest f.e., light effects were used a lot, but in a much more gentle way, and it fit the mood of the songs a lot.

    • I agree. ESC needs a more balanced mix. Atm, there is too much noise, imo. The nfs are more interesting than ESC itself. The more diverse approach would benefit larger numbers of people, including the persons who have the condition mentioned above.

      • First step could be killing the international juries, the protagonistas of ESC friendly bland pop, for good. It’s a crazy vehicle of make believe pan European homogenous taste and another arm of ESC juries. Useless!!! (This Trumpian end was on purpose 😃)

        • First step could making the juries more diverse and end this silly recommendation to vote for potential hits?! What are potential hits?

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