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Editor-in-chief of Khabarovsk newspaper is charged with promoting homosexuality over interview with LGBT activist

13 November 2013

Source: (info)
The Russian Federal Press and Communications Agency (Roskomnadzor) plans to go ahead with admininstrative proceedings against Aleksandr Suturin, editor-in-chief of the Khabarovsk newspaper “Molodoi Dalnevostochnik”, for promoting non-traditional sexual relations. According to a post by Suturin on his Facebook page, the authority’s attention was attracted to the newspaper by an interview with Aleksander Ermoshkin, a local LGBT activist.

Suturin said that Roskomnadzor’s experts had taken particular offence at Ermoshkin’s use of the phrase, “my entire existence is credible proof of the normality of homosexuality”. According to their report, this quote is particularly clear evidence of the “tendency to create a distorted representation of the equality of non-traditional with traditional sexual relations”, and the author of the article misinformed young readers “about the normality of homosexuality” by including this statement. Suturin quotes the report as stating that, “The author’s argument implies that the existence of madmen, serial killers and so on can be regarded as normal and even desirable.”

The editor-in-chief claims that administrative proceedings have already been initiated against him on the basis of this report, in connection with violations of legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality. According to Rosbalt, the relevant documents have already been filed with the court.

"These documents comprise only a report of a meeting between Roskomnadzor’s department for the monitoring of mass communications and representatives of authorities in the field of mass communications and children’s rights, “Suturin explained to his readers. “I was basically found guilty at this meeting, even though the charges against me are based on what can only be described as a very local localised assessment of the alleged violation”.

Aleksandr Ermoshkin, a geography teacher at a secondary school in Khabarovsk, claims that he was dismissed after an organization calling itself the “Movement against propaganda of sexual perversions” submitted a petition to the local authorities. In an interview with Radio Svoboda, the activist explained that the deputy head of the Khabarovsk department of education had then “given the headteacher the choice, in very plain terms, of dismissing me or being dismissed herself”. Ermoshkin’s claim for unfair dismissal will be heard in court on 13 November.

Translated by Joanne Reynolds