Eurovision Song Contest Organizer Raises Concerns Over Russia's Anti-Gay Law
MOSCOW – The Eurovision Song Contest's organizational committee has sent an official letter to Russia’s television stations Channel One and Rossiya 1, raising concerns that a recently enacted anti-gay law could have an impact on the contest if it were to be held in Russia.
The letter, sent to the two state-run channels, was the first of a kind for Eurovision, German magazine Stern reported.
"We decided to make that step because several bigger countries have expressed concerns about safety," Thomas Shreiber, head of entertainment programs at the German TV station NDR and a member of the committee, was quoted as saying by Stern.
The letter calls on the two Russian stations to answer several questions regarding creative freedom and safety of Eurovision participants and fans in case Russia were to host a contest.
Under Eurovision regulations, if a Russian participant wins the next song contest, which is to be held in May 2014 in Copenhagen, the following year, Russia would host the contest. Some European counties are worried that the Russian law "against propaganda of homosexuality among minors," which came into effect earlier this year, could lead to safety problems for gay participants and spectators, should a contest be held in Russia.
Channel One and Rossiya 1 have not reacted to the letter so far.
Meanwhile, citizens of neighboring Belarus are collecting signatures against airing the 2014 contest in the country because it is to feature transsexual Austrian singer Concita Wurst, which they believe would propagate an "unacceptable lifestyle."