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Svenska Dagbladet - Sweden | Monday, April 23, 2012

Claes Arvidsson on the European Song Contest and dictatorships

Human rights organisations are protesting against the holding of the Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan in May and the Ice Hockey World Championships in Belarus in 2014 on the grounds that such events support the local dictatorships. Claes Arvidsson of the Svenska Dagbladet disagrees: "Certainly, the Eurovision Song Contest is a great opportunity for propaganda, but it also makes it possible to debunk such propaganda and show the reality behind the façade. Because it focuses the public eye on oppression that would otherwise go practically unnoticed. And in my view the same holds for the Ice Hockey World Championships, which is why I'm against relocating the tournament to another country. Of course, hockey gives the dictator Lukashenko a perfect propaganda tool, but at the same time it puts Minsk in the spotlight. ... In short, I support the campaign to prevent Lukashenko from holding the Championships, but I don't want it to be successful."

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