Sochi: Vladimir Putin Warns of Action Against ‘Gay Propaganda’

Tide of homophobia in Russian media rising, report finds

LONDON — Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned gay people attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi not to spread “gay propaganda.”

“We don’t have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations. We have a ban on promoting homosexuality and pedophilia among minors,” he said in a televised meeting with volunteers in Sochi, the BBC reported Friday.

One volunteer asked if Sochi’s rainbow-colored uniforms breached the ban on gay propaganda.

“We are not banning anything and we won’t arrest anyone. You can feel free in your relationships but leave children in peace,” Putin said.

According to a report published Friday by media monitoring organization Medialogiya, there has been a rising tide of homophobia in the Russian media following the passing of the law banning the promotion of homosexuality among children.

The number of news reports referring to homosexuality on state-owned TV channel Rossiya 1 has shot up over the past few years. In 2011, there were just 11, while in 2013 there were more than 160.

The tone in almost all of these reports was either outright hostile or else noticeably negative towards homosexuals, the BBC reported.

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