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Ikea shuts down lifestyle website in Russia 'over fears it promotes gay propaganda'

The company said: 'We observe the legislation of the countries where we work'

Jamie Campbell
Saturday 14 March 2015 14:31 GMT

Ikea has announced that it is closing down its online lifestyle magazine in Russia over fears that it will fall foul of a law that forbids the promotion of gay values to minors.

The Swedish company, with a brand value of $12.5 billion, said that it was dropping Ikea Family Live in the country because “a number of articles could be assessed as propaganda” under the law signed in 2013 by President Vladimir Putin.

The law penalising “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation among minors” has been utilised to prevent gay rights protests and to prosecute the founder of a website offering advice to gay teens.

In a statement, 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 that the magazine, published in 25 countries, “shows different aspects of people’s lives at home, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and region.”

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

In 2013, the company was widely criticised for withdrawing an article focusing on a lesbian couple from the Russian edition of the magazine and replacing it with other content, citing the law.

If the company was found to have flouted the rule, it could be forced to pay a fine of up to one million rubles (£10895.47) or halt its activities for 90 days.

The company’s press office in Russia stressed to AFP that Ikea had not received any official warnings in Russia related to the law.

It added that: “We also consider our readers have the right to decide for themselves, what publications might be interesting or worthwhile for them.”

It said that it did not want to put an age warning for under-18’s on the content, a method used by some Russian publications and way to contravene accusations of inflicting gay values on minors.

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