Russian regulator sees funny side

Adult cartoon channel earns reprieve

MOSCOW — A Russian adult cartoon TV channel that had been threatened with losing its frequency after religious groups complained that episodes of “South Park” and other toons incited religious and national hatred, earned a reprieve late Wednesday.

But authorities have asked it to review its content.

The Russian federal TV and radio broadcasting competition commission unanimously recommended that 2X2 — a Moscow and St. Petersburg terrestrial service owned by billionaire industrialist Vladimir Potanin’s Profmedia group — keep its license, due for renewal mid-October.

Federal TV and radio watchdog body, Rossvyazkomnadzor, which has the last word, is also likely to approve a five-year extension to 2X2’s license.

Sergey Sitnikov, deputy head of Rossvyazkomnadzor, who also chairs the broadcasting competition commission, said: “The federal competitive commission perfectly understands that the decision will satisfy one part of the audience in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but not the other.”

The dispute over the cartoon channel’s content — which has been the subject of dispute over the past year, with various religious groups complaining about alleged violence or offensiveness in cartoons that have included “The Simpsons,” “Happy Tree Friends” and “The Adventures of Big Jeff” — boiled down to one of conflicting tastes, Sitnikov said in comments reported by Russian wire agencies.

The competition commission’s decision was designed to draw a line under the conflict and move forward, Sitnikov said, adding that the channel should reconsider its content to bring it more closely into line with its license conditions, which included TV films and drama series as well as cartoons.

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