Austria to not be in Moscow 2009?
The possibility of Austria taking part in Eurovision 2009 still seems uncertain after Edgar Böhm, head of entertainment at ORF, mentioned that proposed changes had still not been made by the EBU.
In 2008 Austria refused to take part in Eurovision due to what they felt was an unfair process that would automatically guarantee them low voting in the contest. ORF, the national television station who organises the Austrian selection process had stated that there was a strong possibility of participating in 2009 if the semifinal setup was defined more clearly. As this has, according to ORF, still not been dealt with, the chances of Austria taking part in Moscow appear minimal. the argument stems from the fact that although the EBU created a second semifinal, implemented in 2008, Austria are unhappy that this still incorporates a mix of countries who will be politically favoured in the voting process. According to ORF, Eurovision has become a big political showcase rather than an International entertainment event. Austria did show the final of the 2008 contest on television even though they failed to take part so on their part there is an interest in the Eurovision event itself.
The division of members for the semifinals was decided by ballot but it is still considered unfair, as block voting is still a major issue when the actual final takes place and therefore according to some, the semifinals have become a way of paving the way for a political showpiece. ORF have commented that unless a clear guideline as to how the semifinals are organised is made by the EBU then Austria will not be taking part in Moscow 2009.