The EBU has been investigating a video recording made and published by a member of the Russian jury, during the judging for the first Semi-Final of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest during last night’s dress rehearsal.
Following constructive talks between EBU and RTR, Russia’s participating broadcaster, RTR proposed to withdraw the respective jury member who produced the video recording. As a consequence, the EBU declared the voting result of the respective judge invalid. The other four judges submitted a valid jury vote. RTR will have the opportunity to provide a replacement judge for the Grand Final on Saturday 14 May.
In a statement to the EBU, Russian broadcaster RTR expressed regret at the actions of its' juror. RTR has also apologised to Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS and Armenian broadcaster AMPTV for the online broadcast of their performances.
During its investigation the EBU sought advice from PwC's independent observer, in line with protocol for the event.
The EBU does not consider it a breach of the rules to stream a video online from the jury deliberation, as long as individual rankings, combined rankings or jury points are kept confidential until after the Grand Final.
Nevertheless, the EBU regards the actions of the person involved as not in keeping with the spirit of the competition and potentially prejudicial as it imposes a potential risk of accidentally revealing results.
The independent notary present at the jury gathering confirmed that the voting was conducted in accordance with the rules.
"The broadcast of the Jury Semi-Finals and Jury Final is an internal transmission, not meant for public distribution," said Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the EBU.
"The credibility of the professional juries is a critically important aspect of the competition. We are satisfied with RTR's proposal, which reflects their understanding of what is and what isn’t appropriate behaviour of a judge for the Eurovision Song Contest,” said Dr. Frank Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the contest’s governing body, the Reference Group.