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Russia: Communications watchdog warns TV channel over airing of French musical

Agency says film contains ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’

A still from Les Chansons d'Amour. Credit:

A popular Russian TV channel has been warned about its broadcast of an award-winning French musical, which a communications watchdog says contains "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL) says in a Sept 12 report.

According to the report, Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media announced it had issued the warning to EvroKino for airing Les Chansons d'Amour, which won France’s César national film award in 2008.

Directed by Christophe Honoré, the musical stars Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme and Chiara Mastroianni and was among 20 films chosen for the main competition at the 2007 Cannes International Film Festival.

In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on legislation prohibiting "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors," as well as a law prohibiting foreign gay couples from adopting Russian children.

Within the past week, Russian lawmaker Alexei Zhuravlev has also proposed amendments to the country’s Family Code, which would sanction removing children from parents who have a “nontraditional sexual orientation.”

“If it becomes necessary," he told interviewer Olga Pavlikova, law-enforcement agencies will get involved in determining who is gay.

Recently, Russian-born activist and journalist Masha Gessen said that despite her initial hopes, outside condemnation of Russia's anti-gay policies is not changing anything inside the country, and the time has come for LGBT people to seek asylum abroad.