Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest currently sees no interest from Middle Eastern countries in the competition.
Speaking as part of an in-depth interview with AD.nl the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest has spoken about future expansion of the Eurovision Song Contest. Mr Sand confirmed that the current limit on participating countries in 44, a number that has yet to be hit with 43 being achieved in 2008, 2011 and 2018.
A number of broadcasters in North Africa are members of the European Broadcasting Union and would be eligible to compete in the contest. However according to Jon Ola Sand there are ‘no signals of interest from the Middle East’. He added that:
I personally would be in favor of it, it would make the Song Contest more varied.
Only one of these nations has ever competed in the Eurovision Song Contest. Morocco made once appearance at the contest in 1980 but finished in second to last place, Mr Sand confirmed that discussions are continuing with the Moroccan broadcaster SNRT about returning to the contest.
Tunisia also previously attempted to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest. Tunisia was to compete in the 1977 contest and was drawn to perform 4th but withdrew from the competition before it took place.
Lebanon attempted to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005. The Lebanese broadcaster selected both a singer and song for the contest, but was forced to withdraw after failing to guarantee to broadcast the Israeli entry.
EBU Member Broadcasters in the Middle East & North Africa
- Algeria – EPTV (Public Establishment of Television)
- Egypt – ERTU (Egyptian Radio and Television Union)
- Jordan – JRTV (Jordan Radio and Television)
- Lebanon – Télé-Liban
- Libya – LNC (Libya National Channel)
- Morocco – SNRT (Broadcasting and Television National Company)
- Tunisia – RTT (Établissement de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Tunisienne)
Jon Ola remains optimistic about the potential of current EBU members to join the competition, ‘So far I have never had to say no to an EBU member who wanted to take part’.