Eurovision tightens voting rules to combat bribery after Azerbaijan allegations


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The Independent Culture

The Eurovision Song Contest has introduced new rules to combat bribery after supporters of Azerbaijan’s entry were accused of buying votes at this year’s event.

From next year, the names of each country's jury will be revealed ahead of the competition in an effort to increase openness and accountability.

For the first time, individual juror scores will also be published immediately after the final.

Previously, the identity of jury members - whose votes account for 50% of the points each country awards it competitors - was not disclosed until after the final.

To increase diversity, music industry professionals can now only take a seat on the jury if they have not participated during the previous two editions of the contest.

Organisers have been looking into claims that Azerbaijan - which came second this year - offered money to other countries’ jury members in exchange for points. Emmelie de Forest won the contest for Denmark

“Tighter rules and increased openness are important for the Eurovision Song Contest to build on its success,” Jon Ola Sand, the executive supervisor of the contest, said.

“We want to make sure participants, viewers and fans know that we have done, and will always do, our utmost to secure a fair result.

“We believe in the independence of every jury member [and] I believe the fact their votes are on display will help them vote independently.”

Mr Sands said the results of their investigation would take time, as they were “doing this very thoroughly”.

Last week, Croatia announced it would be withdrawing from next year's contest, citing financial reasons. The country has not qualified for the final since 2009.

It became the sixth country to pull out, along with Andorra, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco and Slovakia.