Russia’s 2X2 wins license renewal

Cartoon channel had attracted criticism

A Russian adult cartoon channel that has been under attack by religious groups for screening episodes of “South Park” has had its license extended until 2013.

Moscow and St. Petersburg terrestrial service 2X2, owned by billionaire industrialist Vladimir Potanin’s Profmedia group, won broadcasting rights for an additional five years after federal TV and radio watchdog Rossvyazkomnadzo accepted assurances the channel would review its content.

The body also said it had taken into account a recommendation from the Russian federal television and radio broadcasting competition commission to renew the license.

The decision follows complaints from Christian and Muslim groups that claimed “South Park” and other U.S. and Western animated series contained material that offended believers or was unsuitable for younger viewers.

In September, Moscow prosecutors warned that an episode of “South Park” aired earlier this year, “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics” — in which a talking turd pops out of a toilet on Christmas Eve to give gifts to children who eat fiber-rich diets before going on to sing carols with spoof lyrics — promoted “hatred between religions.”

Federal prosecutors also warned that cartoons including “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” were unsuitable for children.