Dagens Nyheter - Sweden | 29/05/2015

ESC wrong to censor booing

At the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday in Vienna the organisers filtered out the audience's booing - primarily at the Russian song - and replaced it with sounds of cheering and applause. Swedish television must not resort to such methods next year, the liberal daily Dagens nyheter warns: "Perhaps next year's ESC can be seen as a chance to exercise civil - and cultural - defence. Of course Swedish television must protest at the European Broadcast Union's sound manipulation. Naturally the event is mainly about the show and less about the truth. Nevertheless the Swedish broadcaster must hold to its principles, ensure a certain transparency and not actively deceive viewers. Everything else should be left to the audience." (29/05/2015)

La Stampa - Italy | 26/05/2015

France's politicians should go to the movies

Dheepan, a French drama about migrants, has won the Palm d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and other French directors and actors also won awards. But France's politicians should be careful with their applause, the liberal daily La Stampa comments tongue in cheek: "French film has triumphed in Cannes. But has France triumphed too? Or doesn't this harsh, elitist, stern and socially committed film completely do away with the idea of a triumphant France? … Have the politicians who praise this success with words full of typical national pride actually seen these films? Do they realise that they showcase the failures of their policies? … The next film by Agnès Varda deals with men and women who live from the leftovers of Paris's markets. It may be finished by 2017, the year of the presidential elections. Then those who are now praising France's success [in Cannes] will have to celebrate their own impending political fiasco." (26/05/2015)

Novosti - Croatia | 22/05/2015

Dangerous self-censorship in Dubrovnik

The Summer Festival in Dubrovnik last week cancelled the premiere of the play The Elementary Particles by the controversial French author Michel Houellebecq, who has repeatedly been accused of anti-Islam sentiment. The Croatian ministry of the interior had called the production a security risk. The incident shows up the spiritual poverty of Croatian cultural policy the left-leaning weekly paper of the Serbian minority Novosti criticises: "This sudden discovery of tolerance and love for those who are 'different' has been used in service of national security. The example of Dubrovnik shows that the so-called war on terror is working hand in hand with a war on culture. In our democratic environment, fear serves merely as political fuel for repression. In the case of Houellebecq, the supposed concern for citizens with other beliefs really only abets a further shift toward the far right in Croatian society - and that does not bode well at all." (22/05/2015)

Karjalainen - Finland | 19/05/2015

Punk band shatters prejudices about disabled

The Finnish punk band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN) will compete in the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna today. The four musicians with learning disabilities have already won, the liberal daily Karjalainen writes: "Their song 'Aina mun pitää' (I always have to) doesn't even last two minutes, but with the help of Finnish and international media it has shattered a whole barrage of prejudices about people with disabilities. … For those with learning disabilities who are following the contest, PKN is an enormously inspiring example. Life offers them more than just staring at the wall in a residential home. No matter who wins the ESC, the PKN quartet has shown that with the right support people with disabilities can even make it onto big stages. But many people with learning disabilities would be happy if they could fulfil a dream everyone has: having their own home and a proper job." (19/05/2015)

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