Czech pop music contest says fans of xenophobic band have broken their rules
Some fans of the band Ortel, which sings lyrics disseminating hatred and xenophobia, have broken the rules of the "Czech Nightingale" (Český slavík) pop music survey, according to its organizer. When analyzing the votes cast, the organizer has come to the conclusion that the band and its leader, Tomáš Ortel, have received support this year that goes beyond the rules of fair play.
The organizer of the contest has therefore decided to award both the band and its singer the same number of points as they received last year, when no such breaking of the rules was ascertained. The Musica Bohemica agency, which organizes the survey, announced the decision on its website.
The results of the survey were announced on Saturday evening at the Karlín Music Theater in Prague. Among the bands, Ortel came in second place and Tomáš Ortel came in third place as a singer.
"The organizer of the survey sees the violation of fair play primarily in the content of the Facebook profile called 'Tomáš Ortel for Český slavík 2017' (active as of 19 September 2017). It calls for joining an organized event so that a specific entity will win the Golden Nightingale - not that people send in votes expressing their actual opinions, but that they join an event for a certain aim and acquire more people and fanclubs for that aim," the representatives of Musica Bohemica said.
According to the rules of the survey, the organizer has the right to annul any votes that violate the spirit of fair play. Specifically, the rules state the following reasoning: "By exploiting databases, address books or social networking sites, organized calls (agitation) can happen in support of a certain entity, and that goes beyond the principles of fair play, or the rules."
Musica Bohemica further emphasized that when making its decision it did not take the content of Ortel's lyrics into consideration at all. Those lyrics are sometimes considered controversial.
The agency said it respects the opinion of a court expert who has stated that the lyrics are lawful. The organizer is also not accusing the Ortel band itself or any specific person of breaking the rules.
Given the anonymous nature of social networks, the rule-breaking could have been committed by practically anybody deciding to set up the Facebook profile at issue. Representatives of the band did not attend the gala evening to receive their award this year.
Prior to Saturday's announcement, Ortel issued a press release saying they would not be attending the Czech Nightingale awards because they "do not want to change a survey into political agitation". During last year's ceremony, when the name of Ortel was announced, the musician Radek Banga and the actress Iva Pazderková left the auditorium in protest during the live broadcast.
"We prefer to be among our own to follow this year's ceremony and the outcome of the survey. We would rather do that than collect barbs from those who have not comprehended and do not even want to comprehend the content of our compositions and their irreversible message," Ortel said.
The band was a target of jokes despite their absence. The actor Tomáš Matonoha dressed up as the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and offered to bring the band's award to them at an upcoming concert.
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