EBU contributor fired after asking critical questions
Av: Torbjörn Ek
Junior Eurovision Song Contest head of press Kath Lockett gets fired as Eurovision organisers try to silence critics
Critical questions got her fired.
As of Tuesday night Kath Lockett is no longer head of press for Eurovision song contest's sister show Junior Eurovision. ”I was shocked and disappointed, however I have no regrets about asking these questions because they should be answered” she tells Aftonbladet.
Despite evidence provided by Aftonbladet, Eurovision song contest organisers the EBU refused to investigate the smear campaign against Swedish Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw after the contest's head of press Jarmo Siim voluntarily resigned.
In less than seven months, Swedish broadcaster SVT is supposed to host next year's Eurovision in collaboration with the EBU.
However, a new scandal has come to light as EBU has tried to silence a contributor who dared asking critical questions. Kath Lockett was fired late Tuseday night after openly questioning the Eurovision event supervisor, Sietse Bakker.
Until Tuesday, Kath Lockett was the head of press for the JuniorESC - before she suddenly got fired.
It all started last Friday just before 5pm, when the EBU announced that the organisation was opening up the tender for PR, communication and online administration of the ESC, JuniorESC, Eurovision Young Dancers and Eurovision Young Musicians.
Made JuniorESC successful again
During the last three years, Lockett has been working as the head of press for JuniorESC and together with her team successfully managed to turn the show around, scoring high ratings. In the years before in 2011 and 2012, JuniorESC was handled by Wow!Works, a company also responsible for the official site Eurovision.tv and owned by the Eurovision event supervisor Sietse Bakker. But due to declining ratings and reduced interest from participating countries JuniorESC was taken off Wow!Works' hands.
But now, the EBU has made it impossible for Kath Lockett and her team to submit a tender. The EBU has specified that only companies can apply, and these must have existed for three years or more.
In response to JuniorESC fans' questions, Kath Lockett tweeted on Firday night that she was ”Forced out after #jesc2015 as only companies can apply.”
Posted critical questions
Lockett also chose to challenge Wow!Works owner and Eurovision event supervisor Sietse Bakker by directing a number of critical questions to him on his private Facebook page.
She then erased the questions after less than 15 minutes.
But these erased questions are the reason why she has now been fired, effective immediately, just weeks before JuniorESC will take place in Bulgaria mid-November.
Among other things Kath Lockett had put into question the way Bakker uses free labour – volunteers - rather than paid journalists for the official Eurovision.tv website. She questioned the quality of the material on Eurovision.tv and also where the money they receive from the more than two billion impressions that Eurovision's Youtube channel can boasts of, actually goes to.
Lockett tells Aftonbladet: ”I was told that I was fired effective immediately because the comments I put on Sietse Bakker's personal Facebook page were supposedly damaging to the reputation of the EBU.”
The EBU confirms firing Lockett - but refuses to comment
The phone call came from the media director of the EBU, Jean Philip de Tender, on Tuesday night. While Kath Lockett thought they were going to discuss the tender process, the EBU legal director joined in on the call:
”My reaction was one of shock and disappointment” Kate Lockett says. ”However I have no regrets about asking these questions, because they have been out in the public arena for a long time now and I think they should be answered.”
Aftonbladet has not been able to reach de Tender for a comment. However, late last night, EBU communications officer Dave Goodman confirmed the termination of Lockett's contract in an email to Aftonbladet stating: ”It is the EBU's policy not to comment on the termination of contracts with individuals.”