Flag stunt leads to Eurovision censure of Armenia

Armenian performer threated with disqualification for brandishing occupied Karabakh flag during live broadcast

Flag stunt leads to Eurovision censure of Armenia

World Bulletin / News Desk

Armenia has been threatened with disqualification from the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest after a performer waved the flag of occupied Karabakh during a live broadcast.

Iveta Mukuchyan, representing Armenia, held up the flag – in breach of contest rules – during the broadcast of the first semi-final on Wednesday.

“The EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, strongly condemn the brandishing of the Nagorno-Karabakh flag in the Green Room,” a statement from contest organizers read.

They added that any “further breach of the rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest could lead to disqualification from this year's event or any successive editions”.

The statement added that the Reference Group “has decided to sanction Armenian broadcaster, AMPTV, in accordance with the rules”, but added that the “nature of the sanction will be determined, at the latest, by the next Reference Group meeting in June”.

The group said they are aware of the tense situation in Karabakh, and the ongoing tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan:

“We consider the appearance of a flag of a highly disputed territory in the live transmission a serious breach of Rule 1.2.2h of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest stating that ‘no messages promoting any organization, institution, political cause or other, company, brand, products or services shall be allowed in the shows’.”

Occupied Karabakh is recognized as Azerbaijani territory by the international community but was taken over by Armenian secessionists as the Soviet Union broke up in the late 1980s.

Despite a 1994 peace deal, border skirmishes are a frequent occurrence. At the beginning of last month, these escalated into the worst outbreak of fighting since the war, resulting in the deaths of more than 270 military personnel.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Mayıs 2016, 17:37