Thursday, 18 June 2009

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia Today: 'Respect for gay rights could save Russia’s image'

Last September I posted on Unzipped about Russia-born Armenian Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia’s main (state sponsored) English language TV channel Russia Today.

Citing, reports of a conference in Moscow aimed at discussing a seriously troubled international image of Russia. It took place on 15 June, with the participation of MPs, experts, public figures and journalists.

Margarita Simonyan raised the issue of recent police break-up of gay rights rally during the Eurovision 2009 in Moscow, prompting to headline its conference report as «Имидж России мог спасти гей-парад».

“This may seem like a minor thing for us, but in reality it has seriously spoiled Russia’s international image. After the break-up of gay parade, BBC dedicated an hour-long program to the event. The last time such thing has happened was during the August war in the Caucasus”, says Margarita Simonyan.

[…] Главный редактор телеканала Russia Today Маргарита Симонян вспомнила про разгон гей-парада в Москве, который долго обсуждался в иностранной прессе. «Это у нас кажется, что это мелочи, но на самом деле они очень сильно портят образ России. После разгона гей-парада этому событию была посвящена часовая программа на «Би-би-си». Последний раз такое было только во время августовской войны на Кавказе», — объяснила Симонян. […] reminds that “Russia Today regularly and objectively covers different events in the life of the LGBT Community in Russia. This year the journalists of the channel not only covered the public action of the Slavic Gay Pride on May 16th but also the attempt to register a same-sex marriage on May 12th”.

These remarks by Margarita Simonyan are relevant not just for Russia. The state of gay rights and equality in any country is usually indicative of the state of human rights in general. This has, therefore, direct and significant impact on country’s international image.

Anyone who cares about Armenia’s international image should take a serious note of Margarita Simonyan’s remarks.

*photo - via Passport magazine

No comments: