The opening act for this year’s Eurovision song contest is a war of words. State-controlled media outlets in the host country, Azerbaijan, are assailing Germany, complaining that Berlin is behind a “large-scale aggressive campaign” to politicize the Eurovision event and discredit Baku.
President Ilham Aliyev’s administration wants to use the Eurovision contest, an event that is expected to attract a global audience of over 100 million, as a public relations springboard to raise Azerbaijan’s international image. Meanwhile, international rights activists, along with local civil society proponents, hope Eurovision can help focus worldwide attention on Azerbaijan’s dismal human rights record. The Eurovision semifinals and finals will be held in Baku in late May.
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