Eurovision boss on smear campaign allegations: ”Cannot consider this as evidence”

Av: Torbjörn Ek

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Jon Ola Sand demands access to material protected under Swedish and International law

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Jon Ola Sand.

Aftonbladet has already presented the evidence - but Eurovision Song Contest boss Jon Ola Sand is still trying to fend off critisism. And now he is demanding to see our confidential dossier, protected under Swedish law, to investigate the allegations against Eurovision pressman Jarmo Siim.

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In several articles Aftonbladet has investigated the Eurovision song contest and how the Facebook account of Jarmo Siim has been used in a smear campaign targeting Swedish Eurovision act Måns Zelmerlöw.

Aftonbladet has been able to show in a video just how we verified that an incriminating message was sent from Jarmo Siim’s Facebook account to a journalist.

Aftonbladet have also been able to confirm that the message is part of a longer conversation - which minimises the likelihood that Siim’s Facebook account had been hacked.

Responds via email

However, despite all the evidence, EBU and Eurovision boss Jon Ola Sand refuses to take any action.

In an email sent by Sand to Aftonbladet, he writes:

“We have seen your video. I hope you understand that we cannot consider this as evidence. There is nothing in our conversations and investigations with Jarmo to confirm that this is true.”

Sand, employed by the EBU as executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, continues:

“Our main reason for believing that Jarmo has not written the message is that if he really would have wanted to compromise the Swedish song (and why would he?), you would perhaps agree that to do so via a Greek journalist would be ineffectual, particularly given Jarmo’s position as editor of Eurovision.tv. There are no other examples of Jarmo ever having been biased towards any act in the ESC. To act morally or legally against Jarmo, we must get what you call proof.”

No counter proof

Ever since Aftonbladet first covered this Eurovision scandal - days before the competition in Vienna - the EBU has repeatedly moved the goalposts in terms of proof, but without showing that Aftonbladet’s reports are without substance.

Following Aftonbladet's first article about the message, which said “Between us, keep on bashing the Swedish song and put pressure on us”, Jon Ola Sand asserted that it was fake.

But Aftonbladet proved he was wrong by meeting the journalist who received the message. With the help of IT experts, we verified that the message was sent from Jarmo Siim’s account, and that the message was part of an ongoing conversation.

At that point, the EBU demanded to see the evidence for itself.

Video evidence

Following that demand, Aftonbladet published a video last Friday where we once again verified that the message was indeed sent from Jarmo Siim’s Facebook profile.

Sand has now called for Aftonbladet to hand over our material, which is protected under Swedish and international law regarding the protection of sources. Aftonbladet would be breaking the law if it disclosed the information.

Sand responded to our questions via email:

Aftonbladet: Jarmo Siim is the editor-in-chief of Eurovision.tv and has an official Eurovision position as communications coordinator - is it really possible to defend him urging a journalist to slander a particular participant?

Sand: “The answer is no. Of course not, but I see no clear motive or goal for him to do this. I cannot understand why this would be a rational way to act from Jarmo’s perspective.”

Aftonbladet: What will the EBU do to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

Sand: “Everyone who works with the Eurovision Song Contest, both in the EBU and together with partners, has great respect for the integrity of the project. We work hard at all times to ensure that everyone complies with our values and ethical guidelines.”

Aftonbladet’s source who received the message from Jarmo Siim’s Facebook account has requested anonymity in order, among other reasons, not to risk losing his press accreditation for the Eurovision Song Contest. Sand maintains that the source has nothing to worry about.

“I can here and now guarantee that we will not deprive your source of accreditation to future Contests if he shares what you call the evidence,” he said. “In actual fact, we would thank him for it.”

Also read this article: ”Okay EBU, here's how you can examine the evidence”

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