Cyprus Mail: CyBC refused to show anti discrimination advert

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Cyprus Mail: CyBC refused to show anti discrimination advert

CyBC refused to show anti discrimination advertBy Patrick DewhurstPublished on June 15, 2010GAY rights campaigners have attacked state broadcaster CYBC for refusing to broadcast an "inappropriate and problematic" anti discrimination advert.The radio advert was part of a European Commission funded campaign by the Ombudswoman's office, to tackle discrimination based on race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion and sexual orientation.The campaign was aired on several channels but was withdrawn by the Ombudswoman after CyBC Directors deemed one advert, which featured a lesbian openly discussing her relationship, as too "inappropriate" for the Cypriot audience.CyBC Director Themis Themistocleus defended the decision. "What came to us was a series of three messages. The contents of the first two had no problems, but the third was problematic and we refused to play it," he said."Accepting a personal situation is one thing, but as a public broadcaster we did not think it was appropriate to promote it. Just because the EU wants to promote a personal situation, it does not mean that CyBC has to do it."The decision has surprised many observers, since Themistocleus is the former Head of the European Commission's representation in Cyprus, which actively supported the project through funding and has set clear guidelines in the promotion of diversity and non-discrimination.Despina Michaelides, Spokeswoman for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights group Accept said: "LGBT people are part of society. The fact that a public station denied it says a lot about their attitude to LGBT. But we pay taxes, to CyBC and we would hope they would be the first to show the advert, not oppose it. I can only assume that as a public station they are afraid to show diversity."Another LGBT campaigner, Kyproleon Kyproleou, agrees. "Homophobia in Cyprus derives from the government and its various institutions. CyBC conveniently forgets that it is a publicly funded organisation."The gay Cypriot citizens contribute to their budget and salaries and refuse to finance with their hard earned tax money homophobes, bigots and racists. I expect Mr Themistocleous to either resign or be terminated from his current position."Androulla Kaminara, current Head of the EC representation in Cyprus, also seemed surprised by CYBC's decision.Asked if there was any way this advert could be deemed inappropriate, Kaminara said: “No. This is the EU's year against exclusion and discrimination, including for sexual orientation, and according to Euro barometer data Cyprus' discrimination is twice the EU average."The adverts themselves have been roundly praised by viewers, who shared the video via Facebook over the weekend."We would like to congratulate the campaign, which is one of the first times we have had an advert about the subject. It was done in a very professional way, and was simple and beautiful," said Michaelides."It sends a clear message that there is nothing shameful (about being gay) and there is nothing to oppose."

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