maddow2 300x199 PETITION: Ask NBC To Add Rachel Maddow As Human Rights Correspondent In Olympics CoverageFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

To Ensure Fair And Accurate Coverage Of The 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Truth Wins Out Strongly Urges NBC To Assign Rachel Maddow As A Special Human Rights Correspondent For The Duration Of The Games

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Russia has made international news over the last several years as an egregious abuser of human rights. The list of abuses under Vladimir Putin’s regime is long and growing: passing laws banning the mere mention of gay people under the guise of protecting minors; banning adoption of Russian children by parents from nations with marriage equality; arresting and threatening to arrest gay tourists; turning a blind eye to thugs seeking out and torturing LGBT youth; arresting political protesters such as the members of Pussy Riot; killing journalists; passing laws banning criticism of the Orthodox Church. It’s amazing that this is the same nation which will be hosting the 2014 Olympic Games. But, indeed they will be held in the Russian town of Sochi, on the shore of the Black Sea.

Worldwide outrage has led to boycotts of Russian products and demands that LGBT athletes be kept safe from the Russian government during the Games. The Russian government’s response hasn’t been very comforting. Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin sent a letter to NBC demanding that the network expose the reality of Russia during Olympic coverage, but the response thus far has been lukewarm. Some have suggested that people of good will should boycott the Games entirely, and given the grave situation, it’s an idea worth serious consideration. However, If the Olympic Games proceed, Truth Wins Out has has a suggestion to greatly enhance Olympic media coverage:

“The spotlight can be harsh, but Russia specifically asked for it when they submitted a bid and agreed to host the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “People around the world want to watch and support the Olympics, but they want to do so with a clear conscience. Make a difference, NBC, by adding Rachel Maddow to the Olympic coverage as a special Human Rights Correspondent.”

NBC’s Olympic coverage has long featured myriad human interest pieces, about the athletes competing, and about all aspects of life in the home nation. There is more than enough time in prime time Olympic coverage for hard-hitting pieces exposing the reality of what LGBT people, political dissidents and other minorities face every day under the Putin regime.

Rachel Maddow is one of the most respected television journalists in the United States, with a reputation for being thorough, fair, informative and entertaining.

“Rachel has the expertise and the instincts to tell this full story to a viewing audience who are appalled by the treatment of their Russian brothers and sisters,” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “Adding her to NBC’s coverage won’t fly in the face of the Olympic spirit, but rather enhance it, as there is nothing in the ethics or the history of the Olympic Games that can coexist peacefully with the war Russia is waging against her own citizens, and the rest of the world needs to know.”

NBC is fortunate to have such an esteemed, beloved journalist in their family of networks. Bringing her into the Olympics coverage is, frankly, a no-brainer. Do the right thing, NBC, for the Olympics, and for the Russian people. The world is watching.

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Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.

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