Saturday

20th Apr 2019

Focus

Commission accused of censorship

  • 'If you don't talk about the reproductive system or divorce you put men's health in danger' (Photo: GiantsFanatic)

The European Commission on Friday (15 June) was accused of censorship for omitting from a report on men's health issues such as homosexuality, condom use, divorce and suicide. The commission, for its part, denies any wrongdoing.

The 2011 report was commissioned, according to the tender, in order “to identify gaps of information and data relating to men's health ... and identify any options for action at national or EU level."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

An “extended” version of the final report gives a detailed account of “the state of men’s health in Europe,” ranging from cardiovascular disease to dental caries to gender identity disorders.

A shorter, more accessible version, however, leaves out the latter, as well as parts on sexual behaviour and condom use, divorce, suicide, and a whole chapter on problems of the male reproductive system. A two-page leaflet is also silent on these issues.

“I think it is censorship,” Svend Aage Madsen, chief psychologist at the Copenhagen University Hospital and co-author of the report, told EUobserver.

“It is taking away things so that people do not see it.”

The decision is particularly hazardous, he said, since it is the short report - not the long one - that is printed on paper, distributed, and read by policymakers. The 400-plus pages of the long report are only available online.

“If you don’t talk about the reproductive system or divorce - a main cause of ill health for men - you put men’s health in danger,” he said.

“And if you don’t talk about homosexuality and the particular health-related issues, you discriminate,” he added.

Madsen and his colleagues had themselves already produced a shorter version of the report. But the commission chose to cut nonetheless.

Alan White, a professor of men’s health at Leeds Metropolitan University and winner of the tender, told EUobserver he too would have liked to see the original prevail.

Policymakers today would not be able to make as well-informed a decision. “You don’t have a complete picture,” he said.

Frederic Vincent, EU spokesperson for health, confirmed that “the difference between the extended and the short version is that the shorter is aimed at politicians and key stakeholders ... and intended to give a short overview.”

He wrote in an e-mail that the decision to omit certain sections was only made for reasons of priority. “The two reports are on-line, so where's the censorship?” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Danish centre-left MEP Christel Schaldemose has asked the commission to explain.

“It is outrageous,” she told EUobserver. “It looks as if they have censored [the report].”

It is not the first time that EU policymakers are coy about issues relating to homosexuality, she added.

“They are trying to avoid all the sensitive words. It is extremely worrying.”

EU on gay rights: words or actions?

MEPs say the EU commission is big on "words, not action" on gay rights. The commission says it uses "actions, not words."

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

LGBTI protection still lacking in EU

Despite some welcome advances, some legal rights for the LGBTI community are lacking in EU member states, and the rise of the populist right is making things worse, conference in Warsaw is told.

Opinion

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us