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Last Updated: Friday, 14 November, 2003, 23:54 GMT
Greek gay kiss-in against TV fine
Jerome Castellano (L) and Manthos Peponas kiss at the protest
Protesters said the ruling was 'racist'
Gay activists have staged a kiss-in at the offices of the Greek media watchdog to protest against a fine imposed on a TV station for showing two men kissing.

Mega television was fined 100,000 euros (69,390) for the episode of its drama Close Your Eyes, featuring the kiss.

The National Radio and Television Council which imposed the fine called the scene "vulgar and unacceptable".

About 20 gays and transvestites took part in the kissing protest, describing the fine as "despicable and racist".

"They want to tell us who we can kiss and what time kissing is appropriate," Grigoris Valianatos, a gay community spokesman, said moments before embracing a fellow protester.

"We believe a kiss is an act of love, tenderness and courage."

"This decision is despicable and racist ... what I most hate is the hypocrisy we have to deal with every day," said Marina Galanou, member of Greece's Transsexual and Transvestites' Union.

Homosexuality is generally not discriminated against under Greek law, but gays complain of prejudice shown by employers, while displays of affection by same-sex couples are widely frowned upon.

The country's predominant Orthodox Church also strongly opposes the idea of gay marriage.

Big bother

The National Radio and Television Council ran into controversy in 2002 when it stepped in to a row about the Greek version of Big Brother.

Its president, Vasillis Lambridis, originally pulled the reality TV show off the air claiming it had overstepped the boundaries of public decency.

But he was over-ruled by other members of the television watchdog, and the show was allowed to continue, albeit moved from a 2200 timeslot to past midnight.

In the UK, 21 complaints were received when soap opera Coronation Street recently screened its first gay kiss, but these were rejected by the Independent Television Commission.




SEE ALSO:
Ban on Greek Big Brother overturned
22 Mar 02  |  Entertainment
Bother for Greek Big Brother
05 Jul 01  |  Entertainment
Country profile: Greece
05 Nov 03  |  Country profiles
Gay life finally hits Corrie's cobbles
05 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Street gay kiss complaints rejected
03 Nov 03  |  Entertainment


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