Thomas Schreiber the Head of Entertainment at ARD, has voiced his concerns and views on the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia at Eurovision.
The Head of Entertainment at ARD has become the latest member of a European Broadcasting Union broadcaster to voice his concerns around the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian Government and Russia. The Ukrainian Security Services ruled earlier this week that Yulia Samoilova would be banned from entering Ukraine for a period of three years, meaning the singer will be unable to compete in Eurovision 2017. The singer was banned following her entry into Crimea in 2015 via a non-Ukrainian border post.
Mr Schreiber who is heavily involved in Germany’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is critical of both Ukraine and Russia. He stated in an interview with Deutsche Welle that:
The Russian broadcaster knew for sure who he had chosen, and the Ukrainian authorities also know what they are doing.
The Head of Entertainment reiterated that himself and ARD want to see Russia compete in Ukraine, adding:
Whether this is possible also depends on the goodwill of both participating parties or the broadcasters who are nominally participating. At the same time, the whole thing is of such high symbolic importance that it can be assumed that the broadcasters may not act quite as independently as It might be the case in Western Europe.
ARD are critical of the current approach that is being taken of proposals between the European Broadcasting Union and the two parties.Thomas Schreiber commented that there is “little sense” in having these discussion in the public arena, adding that these discussion “rarely happen in such a way”.
Echoing the sentiments of both Director General of San Marino RTV and the Head of Entertainment at DR, Mr Schreiber is disappointed in the way in which current conflict is damaging the brand of the Eurovision Song Contest. He ended the interview with DW by saying:
It is conceivable that Russia is taking part, and it is conceivable that Russia does not participate because both sides do not come together ….. and makes it clear that the Eurovision Song Contest is exactly what it carries in its title: a song competition and nothing else.
Over the course of the weekend the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand has stated in an interview with the Danish national broadcaster, that he would like to see Yulia’s ban delayed until after Eurovision. This follows an earlier EBU proposal to have Yulia perform via satellite link for Moscow which was rejected by both Channel One of Russia and the Ukrainian Government.