Fake News: Palestine NOT Granted Permission To Compete In Eurovision 2019

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Palestine NOT Granted Permission To Compete In Eurovision 2019

Was Palestine granted permission to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Jerusalem? No, that's not true. A news article claiming the Palestinians will compete next year after being granted permission by the European Broadcasting Union originated on a satirical website. It is not real.

The Eurovision story originated from an article published on May 14, 2018 by the Waterford Whispers News that was titled "Palestine Granted Permission To Compete In Eurovision 2019" (archived here) which opened:

FOLLOWING in the footsteps of Australia and other non-European countries, Palestine has been granted permission to compete in next year's competition by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), WWN can confirm.

Just hours after Israel won on Saturday's final, the contest's governing body, the Reference Group, and the EBU's Television Committee accepted the proposal which was brought up by dozens of fellow countries.

"For some reason we were bombarded with requests to invite Palestine to next year's competition in Jerusalem," explained Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the contest, "so we immediately contacted the state officially to see if they would be interested, and surprisingly they jumped at the chance".

Users on social media who only saw this summary might have confused it for a real news item, especially those not familiar with the site:

Palestine Granted Permission To Compete In Eurovision 2019

FOLLOWING in the footsteps of Australia and other non-European countries, Palestine has been granted permission to compete in next year's competition by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), WWN can confirm. Just hours after Israel won on Saturday's ...

But the screenshot that went with the article was actually a photo of Gaza singer Mohammed Assaf, the winner of Arab Idol in 2013, to which a Eurovision song contest logo had been added:

Gaza singer wins Arab Idol contest

Celebrations have erupted across the Palestinian territories at news that a wedding singer from the Gaza Strip has won the Arab Idol talent TV show. Mohammed Assaf, 23, was a virtual unknown until a few weeks ago but has now become a local hero.

The official European Broadcasting Union's website also makes no mention of the 'news'.

And that is because the site Whaterford Whispers News has a disclaimer page which reads:

Disclaimer
Waterford Whispers News is a fabricated satirical newspaper and comedy website published by Waterford Whispers News.

Waterford Whispers News uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

For that reason alone you should probably never believe anything they publish.

We wrote about waterfordwhispersnews.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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