EBU Write To Russian TV Regarding Their Nation’s Homosexual Legislation

Gay rights activists march in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg May 1, 2013, during their rally against a controversial law in the city that activists see as violating the rights of gays. (OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Gay rights activists march in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg May 1, 2013, during their rally against a controversial law in the city that activists see as violating the rights of gays. (OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

“The Reference Committee of the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in the history of the competition, wrote a warning letter to the Russian TV Channel One and RTR” inquiring about artistic freedom and the safety of participants and fans should Russia win the Eurovision Song Contest again. This is the news that was published by the German News Agency Stern.de.

According to “Stern” the Eurovision Reference Committee have concerns for the safety of artists and fans from the LGBT community who follow the Eurovision Song Contest should the contest be won and held in Russia. This comes on the back of recent legislation regarding Homosexuality within Russia.

Stern have claimed “We (ESC Reference Committee) have decided to take this step (Writing to the Russian Broadcasters) because some large delegations have raised massive security concerns.” They have quoted NDR Entertainment Chief – Thomas Schreiber – who is a German Representative on the Eurovision Reference Committee. Mr Schreiber was also the Executive Producer of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf.

The article goes further to say that Sweden “would probably not participate in a competition in Moscow, when their concerns were not allayed.”

New Russian legislation prohibits “propaganda of homosexuality” like posters or open appearance. Stern say that “this is contrary to the values ​​of the European Broadcasting Union EBU Mandate, which was adopted a year ago. Accordingly, the song contest is to be a public space, in which all citizens can express their views freely.”

You can read the full article from Stern here

You may remember that we here at Eurovision Ireland sent an open letter to the EBU asking their stand point on the LGBT legislation being implemented in Russia. Jon Ola Sand (EBU Executive Supervisor) and Sietse Bakker (EBU Event Supervisor) kindly responded to our letter where they recognised the growing concerns that fans had on the recent LGBT legislation and that they wanted to show support to the fans that have support them over the decades. The letter went on to say that the Eurovision Song Contest is not a direct vehicle to interact with governments on their legislation, but importantly an opportunity to bring people from all races, gender and sexual orientation together – which we agree with.

If the claims made by the German news agency “Stern” are correct, then this will be the first time that a direct statement has been made to a National Broadcaster in the contest’s history regarding their political stance and legislation.

We will indeed be following up the claims made by “Stern” with the EBU and will report back to our readers across Europe and beyond.

What do you think? If true, Do you think the EBU should raise these concerns about Russian domestic legislation? Give us your views.

Author/Website co-founder and Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall

Source : Stern.de and Eurovision Ireland

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