Friday, 13 March 2015

Ikea: Swedish Meatballs

Ikea is to close down an online magazine in Russia over fears it could flout the country's law banning the promotion of gay values to minors.

In a statement, the furniture giant said some articles in Ikea Family Live could be viewed in Russia as gay "propaganda".

The controversial law was approved by President Vladimir Putin in 2013, drawing criticism from rights groups.

They say it has been used to ban gay rights events, a claim Russia denies 

In the statement (in Russian), Ikea said: "When we do business, we observe the legislation of the countries where we work, therefore to avoid violations, we have taken the decision to stop publishing the magazine in Russia."

It said the magazine - which is published in 25 countries - "shows different aspects of people's lives at home, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and religion".

"The magazine reflects the values ​​of the Ikea company, including equal rights and opportunities for all."

The company's press office in Russia stressed that Ikea had not received any official warnings in Russia related to the "gay propaganda" law, the AFP news agency reports...

BBC News.

Well, this decision seems most odd.

No Russian gay publication or website has been prosecuted, * and the Russian authorities appear to have been completely disinterested in Ikea's online magazine.

And even if there was any real risk, you could get round the law by running it from, say, a Swedish server.

Still, well done for making a stand.

Oh, hang on, you haven't...

* This case against a website aimed at LGBT youth was dismissed by a judge. [PS Hmm... Hard to know what's going on here].

Update: I thought at first this was just a PR exercise, but this episode reflects so badly on Ikea I find this unlikely, and retract my earlier header on account of it being quite stupid. Soz.

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