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Rakvere city council sued for cutting back funding of LGBT+ festival

Not enthusiastic: Rakvere's city council has cut back funding for an LGBTI festival by 80%. Image is illustrative
Not enthusiastic: Rakvere's city council has cut back funding for an LGBTI festival by 80%. Image is illustrative Source: AFP/Scanpix

Non-profit MTÜ SevenBow, the organiser of the Festheart LGBTI film festival in Rakvere, is suing the city council because they decided to cut back funding for the festival.

SevenBow finds the decision unfair, and together with the Estonian Human Rights Centre and law firm Hedman Partners is suing the city council.

SevenBow submitted an application in line with council rules for support for Festheart 2019. The city's cultural affairs committee evaluated all applications submitted, and deemed SevenBow's plans relevant and worthy of support.

But instead of following the committee, the city council decided to cut back support by 80%, down to just a fifth of the sum the non-profit had applied for and which the committee had backed.

Meanwhile, grants to all other applicants were confirmed in accordance with the applicable procedures as well as the cultural committee's proposal.

This isn't the first time an application received this treatment by the city council: another legal dispute involving the exact same parties and a similar case of last year is still unsolved.

"The politicians are once again interfering in the funding of culture based on their own prejudices, and copying our authoritarian eastern neighbour," Keio Soomelt, representative of SevenBow, said.

Executive director of the Estonian Human Rights Centre, Kari Käsper, said the issue at hand isn't just about this specific festival, but that funding at both the national as well as the local level should be subject to what benefits the local cultural life, not personal prejudice.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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