The grandson of British gay playwright, Oscar Wilde, has issued a direct complaint to Russian President, Vladimir Putin, following an allegedly anti gay television programme in Russia last weekend.

Merlin Holland, wrote a letter to the President encouraging him to ensure that there will be “balanced media coverage” for the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) convention to be held in Moscow later this year.

On Saturday, the Russian television station TVC – controlled by Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov – carried an item in its Postscriptum programme which, as Mr. Holland told the Russian President, “was apparently of an overtly homophobic nature and quite clearly intended to convince the Russian public that homosexuality is the affliction of a depraved and decadent minority in Western Europe, a minority whose aim is to cause trouble in Eastern Europe by marching for its human rights.”

The programme was repeated on Monday.

Mr Luzhkov is widely considered to influence the editorial content of his TVC station.

Last summer, Mayor Luzhkov publicly stated that he would ban peaceful demonstrations in Moscow by gays, an act that would contravene both the Russian Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, which Russia is signed-up to.

Mr Holland wrote, “Homosexuals are not terrorists; they are not murderers; they are not fanatics who take hostages to achieve their goals.”

“They are simply human beings who are asking that their rights to normal lives be recognised.”

He reminded President Putin that Russia had a number of world-famous people in the arts who were, like composer Tchaikovsky, gay.

“It is nothing of which to be ashamed; it is not decadent and depraved; it is a part of human nature and has been since the dawn of civilization.”

He went on to say that while he was not gay himself, he was happy to add his voice to those raised in protest against homophobia. “My grandfather was imprisoned in 1895 simply for being a homosexual and our family was almost destroyed as a result.”

He told the President that he would be visiting Moscow for the IDAHO convention in May.

“With the world’s spotlight on Russia hosting the G8 summit in summer it will be an important time for your media to show that they can behave in an internationally responsible fashion.”