Chinese broadcaster banned from airing Eurovision 2018

The European Broadcasting Union has terminated its contract with Chinese broadcaster Mango TV after it censored Ireland and Albania's semi-final performances

Ireland Eurovision 2018 Dancers

The European Broadcasting Union has announced that it has terminated its contract with China’s Mango TV and revoked its rights to broadcast the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.

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The EBU made the decision after China censored two performances and LGBT symbols during the live broadcast of the song contest’s first semi-final on Tuesday 8th May.

Ireland’s performance – featuring singer Ryan O’Shaughnessy and two male dancers who acted out an LGBT love story – is understood to have been pulled from the broadcast, while rainbow flags in the audience were blurred.

China banned all depictions of same-sex relationships on TV back in 2016.

Albania’s act, Eugent Bushpepa, was also pulled, possibly because the singer sported visible tattoos. China recently restricted the display of tattoos on TV.

“On the 9th of May, Chinese broadcaster Mango TV broadcast the first Semi-Final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest live but two performances were censored,” the EBU said in a statement.

“This is not in line with the EBU’s values of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music. It is with regret that we will therefore immediately be terminating our partnership with the broadcaster and they will not be permitted to broadcast the second Semi-Final or the Grand Final.”

Irish singer O’Shaughnessy welcomed the EBU’s decision during a BBC Eurovision interview.

“From the very start we’ve said love is love – doesn’t matter whether it’s between two guys, two girls or a guy and a girl. So I think this is a really important decision by the EBU, and they haven’t taken this lightly. I think it’s a move in the right direction so I’m happy about it,” he said.

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The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final will air on BBC1 on Saturday 12th May from 8pm. It will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 from 8pm