A fine imposed on a small radio station in Athens that effectively killed a regular program for gays and lesbians was condemned on Friday as racist and prudish, Agence France-Presse reports. The protest came after the broadcasting regulator ESR fined the station 5,000 euros ($6,600) over a once-weekly nighttime radio show presented by a lesbian that has been running for the past five years. Olke, Greece's largest gay association, and a minority left-wing party called Syn lashed out at what they called the muzzling of gays on the airwaves and also criticized ESR for failing to condemn airtime given to a homophobic campaign by a Greek lawyer.
ESR justified the fine by saying that the content of the program was "undoubtedly of bad quality" and that each show was followed by advertisements for gay bars and condoms. The radio station ended the series, saying it did not have enough money to run the risk of further fines.
A statement by Olke recalled that ESR had in November 2003 fined private television channel Mega
100,000 euros for transmitting a shot of two men kissing. Syn likewise condemned ESR's failure to respond to transmissions of homophobic statements by Alexis Kouyas, a star Athens courtroom lawyer. Syn quoted him as saying, "Homosexuals have no morals," and "Homosexuality is worse than an abnormality," as part of a personal campaign against what he claims is a "homosexual clique in the legal system."