Eurovision TV Director responds to allegations on voting02 June 2008 at 19:59 CEST
The rules of the Eurovision Song Contest state that all viewers in the 43 participating countries can vote. Over 8 million votes were cast this year, over 6 million in the Final itself. The EBU has contracted Deutsche Telekom, and the specialised German company Digame, to handle and control the complicated operation televoting is. PricewaterhouseCoopers is auditing the voting system and the results. No fraud has ever been registered since the centralised televoting system was introduced.
Erichsen: "If a viewer likes the song from a neighbouring country, they can vote for it, and if a Polish girl lives in Ireland she can vote for Poland. You cannot vote for your own country, from your own country. But the EBU and its partners do not - and should not have - any possibility of controlling the nationality, identity or preferences of the individual voter. If somebody were to seek to influence the voters to vote for a specific song, they would have to approach the 105 million audience to convince them. Ultimately, they would have to influence the entire potential 640 million audience in the EBU countries, as nobody knows who will switch on their TV that evening."
A certain amount of neighbour voting between the Nordic countries, and between former Yugoslavian countries took place at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Statistics however show that did not bring Russia its first ever victory. "This year, as in other years, Russia got good votes from their neighbours. In the past this was not enough to secure a win. The difference this year was that they received points from a total of 38 countries, thereby securing victory." Erichsen explains.
The Eurovision TV Director also presented some calculations to underline the solidarity of Russia's victory: "If we imagine an absurd scenario where only the participating countries from the 27 EU countries could vote, thus excluding most of the direct Russian neighbours, the winner would also have been Russia. If we imagine - even more absurd - that only the pre-enlargement EU old Western countries could vote, the winner would have been Armenia - not a Western country. Voting for your neighbour was not, and has never been the reason a song wins. The statistics prove that you can only win, if almost all countries vote for you."
The EBU appreciates that the Eurovision Song Contest draws such a large audience, widespread interest and press attention, but finds the criticism of the voting system unfounded.