So, you’re going to show your non-support of Russia by booing their Eurovision entry this year? With fancy anti-booing technology on the cards, Tim Chandler suggests you think again.


The Eurovision Song Contest has taken the extraordinary measure of installing anti-booing technology as a Plan B to any unfavourable audience reactions – mainly towards Russia.

Russia wasn’t the crowd favourite at the 2014 contest following their activity in Ukraine – the crowd weren’t about to let them forget it, booing Russia’s entry, the very beautiful Tolmachevy twin sisters. Those boos were broadcast live to millions around the world, creating embarrassment for the Eurovision organisers.

All anyone knows about this anti-booing technology is that it can reduce the sound of booing. Organisers seem to be keeping a lid on how it works or what other options they have to telecast the most friendly event.

Is this right though? It’s ultimately censorship, though on a quieter level than what we might expect of something be censored. I can’t blame the Eurovision organisers for wanting to deliver a high quality, colourful and fun event. It’s what people expect. Eurovision is about the costumes and the glitter, the music and the staging, the bridges it is building. It shouldn’t have to be any more political than it already is with its block voting and its universal dislike of the entries from France and the UK.

Since the last contest, Russia has been involved in the “did they or didn’t they?” speculation of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down as it flew through Ukraine air space. There’s every chance a bunch of people at the final will want to express their discontent. On a more personal level, Russia’s 2015 entry, Polina Gagarina, doesn’t deserve to bear the brunt of the dislike for her country.

I don’t want to watch Eurovision and hear an act being booed, and I’d like to believe that very few people do (though I do wonder how being jeered is worse than expletives being broadcast live in any other program). Fans wanting to convey their non-support for Russia’s entry should consider a silent protest, singing the lyrics incorrectly, refusing to add glitter to their costume or to even not vote for them.

If this sort of anti-booing technology can be used at Eurovision, what’s to stop it being employed elsewhere? What will the football become if you can’t hear people booing the umpires? How quiet will Q&A be when the politicians try to spin a question in a less than favourable way? Will all interviews with Tony Abbott become mute?

Take Eurovision for what it is – a box of chocolates.

You never know when you’re going to get one of those yucky coffee flavoured ones.


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