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Morocco in the Eurovision Song Contest

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Morocco in the Eurovision Song Contest
Participating broadcasterRadiodiffusion-Télévision Marocaine (RTM)
Participation summary
First appearance1980
Last appearance1980
Highest placement18th: 1980
Participation history
    • 1980
    • 1981 – 2024
External links
Morocco's page at Eurovision.tv Edit this at Wikidata

Morocco participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for its first and only time at the 1980 contest. Its selected song "Bitakat Hob", sung in Arabic and performed by Samira Bensaïd, placed second to last. The country has not returned to the contest since.


The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual international song competition held by the Eurovision broadcasting organisation since 1956, with participants representing primarily European countries. Each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio, then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the winner. Since its inception, entry to the contest has been open to all members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a group also containing countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Before Morocco's 1980 participation, Tunisia (at the 1977 contest) was the only African country that had intended to compete, with it even being drawn to perform fourth, however, it eventually withdrew from the contest.[1]

1980 participation[edit]

Record cover for "Bitakat Hob", with text noting it as the Moroccan entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1980.

Morocco's first and only participation in the Eurovision Song Contest was in 1980,[2] when the contest was held in The Hague, Netherlands. Its entry was organized by Moroccan broadcaster and EBU member, Radiodiffusion-Télévision Marocaine (RTM; now known under the name Société Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision), which had previously broadcast select contests in the 1960s and 1970.

The broadcaster selected the song "Bitakat Hob", performed by Moroccan singer Samira Bensaïd. It is a moderately up-tempo number, with clear influences from Western disco and Arabic overtones. Bensaïd sings of the need for peace among the world's nations, taking the role of "the children of the world" to describe a vision of a society free of war and hate. It was interpreted as a message of peace addressed to Israel and the Arab countries.[3] Jean Claudric conducted the orchestra for the entry.[4]

The song was performed fifth on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 7 points, all of them from Italy, placing 18th in a field of 19, and ahead of perennial last-place recipient Finland.[5][2]

The country's second-to-last place was a disappointment for Moroccan public television, which decided never to participate in the contest again. Samira Said's career did not suffer, however, as she went on to become one of the leading Arab recording artists of the 20th century. She recorded a French version of the song "Message d'amour", found on the B-side of the single and in 1980, Filippos Nikolaou released a Greek cover version "Tosi kardia, tosi agapi" (Greek: "Τόση καρδιά, τόση αγάπη").[6]

"Bitakat Hob" was the first Eurovision song to include Arabic lyrics, and remains the only one sung entirely in Arabic.


A second Moroccan broadcaster, 2M TV, has expressed their intention to join the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Should their application be successful, Morocco would be eligible to return to the contest with an alternative broadcaster.[7][8][9][10] In May 2018, Israeli Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara announced his intention to invite countries of the Arab world to participate in the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv,[11] but Morocco was not on the list of participating countries released on 7 November 2018.

Following the signing of the normalization agreement between Israel and Morocco on 10 December 2020,[12] Eran Sikurel, a politician and radio host working at the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC), called on Moroccan broadcaster SNRT to return to the contest on his Twitter account, but no response was received.[13]

Participation overview[edit]

Year Artist Song Language Final Points
1980 Samira Bensaïd "Bitakat Hob" (بطاقة حب) Arabic 18 7


  1. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2007). The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official History. UK: Carlton Books. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3.
  2. ^ a b "32 years ago today- Morocco's only ever participation". Eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  3. ^ "32 years ago today- Morocco's only ever participation". Eurovision.tv. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  4. ^ And the conductor is... Jean Claudric
  5. ^ a b c "Results of the Final of The Hague". European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  6. ^ [1] Eurovision Cover – Bitakat hob (Greek).
  7. ^ "2MTV aims to full EBU membership". Oikotimes. 12 July 2007. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  8. ^ Kuipers, Michael (12 July 2007). "Morocco to return in the next few years?". ESCToday. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  9. ^ "Commercial channel interested to join Eurovision Song Contest". Oikotimes. 31 August 2008. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  10. ^ Akhasvil, Sopon (3 June 2014). "With the IBA in peril, Israel may withdraw in 2015". Wiwibloggs.com. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  11. ^ Cobb, Ryan (22 May 2018). "Israeli Minister "to invite" Arabic nations, including Tunisia, to take part in Eurovision 2019". escxtra.com. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Morocco: Normalizes diplomatic relations with Israel | First step to return to Eurovision?". EurovisionFun. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  13. ^ Eran Sikurel [@EranCicurel] (10 December 2020). "הרשו לי לנצל את ההזדמנות ולפנות לרשות השידור המרוקאית: Morocco. Peace is Here. Israel and the Eurovision community wants you back in the game" [Allow me to take this opportunity to address the Moroccan Broadcasting Authority: Morocco. Peace is here. Israel and the Eurovision community wants you back in the game.] (Tweet) (in Hebrew and English). Retrieved 23 May 2021 – via Twitter.