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Volume 6 No. 215


U.K.'s Channel 4 "is to rebrand its on-screen logo with rainbow colours of the gay pride flag" -- and launch a TV ad campaign called "'Gay Mountain' -- joining the rising wave of protests" about Russia's anti-gay laws on the eve of the Sochi Olympics, according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. Channel 4, which has the TV broadcast rights to the Winter Paralympics, "joins the growing ranks showing their support for gay athletes and protest against Russia's anti-gay laws." The broadcaster's "distinctive logo will be rebranded on Friday," the day of the Opening Ceremony, and the "what's on next" screens that "air between shows will be similarly rainbow-emblazoned for the day." Channel 4 is also launching a 90-second TV ad that will debut in prime time at 7pm London time on Friday. The tongue-in-cheek ad, which will run for a week, features a "bear" cabaret act singing a song which features lyrics including "good luck gays, on gay mountain" (GUARDIAN, 2/6).

IOC members "have backed the idea of setting up an Olympic television channel," according to the AP. IOC President Thomas Bach "put the proposal up for debate" at the IOC’s general assembly. The IOC said that the channel "would promote Olympic sports in the years between the games and help connect the games with younger people." Sports federations, national Olympic committees, broadcasters and sponsors "would be asked to take part." The IOC "will undertake a feasibility study on the costs before a final decision" (AP, 2/5).

North Koreans will receive substantial TV coverage of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia "even though none of its athletes have qualified for the event," according to YONHAP. North Korea "is among the 15 countries to get help from the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union," a non-profit organization for promoting cooperation and friendship among broadcasting firms in the region, to broadcast Olympic events under deals with the union. The union said that under the deal, coverage of major Olympic events by seven TV channels "will be relayed to Pyongyang starting with the opening ceremony scheduled for early Saturday (Korean time)" (YONHAP, 2/6).

A documentary titled "Maracaná," which tells the story of Uruguay's "surprising 2-1 defeat of Brazil in the finals of the 1950 World Cup in Brazil," will debut in March, according to the EFE. The "memorable game took place on July 13, 1950 in Rio de Janeiro's Maracaná stadium in front of 200,000 fans." The film's directors are Uruguayans Sebastián Bednarik and Andrés Varela, with Uruguayan companies Coral Cine and Tenfield producing the documentary. Bednarik and Varela said, "Eleven men defied all predictions in the finals of the World Cup in defeating the exceptional Brazilian team. This event has marked the social and political lives of both countries until now." The documentary is based on "Maracaná, la historia secreta" ("Maracaná, the secret history,") a book by Uruguayan author Atilio Garrido (EFE, 2/6).

The Spanish Football League (LFP) will introduce "La Liga TV" this weekend, a channel available on the LFP's website that will allow fans to watch Spanish second division games live. The coverage of the second division games will be free to fans and will not have int'l restrictions, making "La Liga TV" available worldwide (LFP). ... The Int'l Paralympic Committee has launched websites for the National Paralympic Committees of Ecuador, Indonesia and Tunisia in addition to a micro-site for the Americas Paralympic Committee housed on the IPC's website (IPC). ... Italy coach Cesare Prandelli "will place restrictions" on his players' use of social media at the World Cup. Prandelli: "There are going to be restrictions. In a tournament like the World Cup, with such media interest, you can't talk to your wives and girlfriends via the web because every single message reaches the whole of the world" (ESPN, 2/6).