ARMENIA FINED FOR AZERBAIJAN EUROVISION PULL-OUT
May 3 2012
They’re going… but certainly not for a song. Armenia’s decision to
quit the Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan is proving costly:
the country will pay the full participant’s fee, plus an extra 50
per cent as a fine.
The two-decade-long conflict between the neighbors over Nagorny
Karabakh has spilt into show business. On March 7, Armenia announced
its withdrawal from the contest to be held in the Azerbaijani capital
Baku later this month.
According to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Armenia pulled
out after all the deadlines for quitting had passed. The EBU has now
ordered that Armenia pay the normal fee, along with a fine of 50 per
cent. Plus, Armenia’s public television will be obliged to broadcast
the contest’s final live. If it does not comply with these measures,
the country may have to skip Eurovision 2013.
Armenia’s decision to boycott the contest was made after a 20-year-old
Armenian soldier was shot dead on the border between the states.
Initial reports suggested he was killed by an Azerbaijani sniper,
although Baku insists the cause was friendly fire.
Following the soldier’s death, Armenian celebrities called on the
country’s public television to skip the competition, claiming Armenian
performers wouldn’t be safe in Azerbaijan.
The two countries fought a war over Nagorny Karabakh in the 1990s. No
peace deal has been signed since the 1994 ceasefire.