Eurovision Song Contest governing body to meet in Baku first time

During the two-day meeting, the group will discuss the overall state of preparations by Ictimai TV, look into various venues that can host the three pan-European live television broadcasts and go over several regulatory details that are up for improvement.

A highlight prior to this first meeting in the country's capital is the handover of essential guarantee documents requested from the Azeri government by the European Broadcasting Union.

These cover security guarantees, full commitment to a convenient visa policy for the thousands of foreign guests that will travel to Azerbaijan, and freedom of speech and -press in accordance with the European Convention of Human Rights for all those who will visit the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in May as delegates, crew, press and fans.

"A commitment to these fundamental circumstances has been the cornerstone of the success of the Eurovision Song Contest since its foundation in 1956," says Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Reference Group, adding that "2012 is no exception to that."

The Reference Group consists of a Chairman, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the EBU, this year's Executive Producer on behalf of Ictimai TV, the Executive Producer of the previous edition and four elected members, who represent the participating broadcasters.

The body meets four to five times a year to evaluate the progress of preparations and to take strategic decisions about the contest.

The Final of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled to take place on 26 May, two Semi-Finals are set for 22 and 24 May. Some 40 nations are expected to be represented, of which several have already started their search for a potential winner.

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