Russia legal bid to ban "South Park"

Mon Sep 8, 2008 11:47am EDT
 
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By Chris Baldwin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Russia want to ban the award-winning satirical U.S. cartoon "South Park," calling the series "extremist" after receiving viewer complaints, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

"South Park," a cartoon aimed at adults and featuring a group of nine-year olds in a Colorado town, has courted controversy since its 1997 debut, lampooning celebrities, politicians, religion, gay marriage and Saddam Hussein.

But investigators have filed a motion after deciding an episode broadcast on Moscow television station 2x2 in January "bore signs of extremist activity," said regional prosecutors office spokeswoman Valentina Titova.

"In accordance with the conclusions made by experts from the court investigations committee, a claim has been filed against 2x2 for its broadcast of an episode of South Park," Titova said.

"South Park" has won two Emmy Awards and was first shown on the U.S. Comedy Central network. It is dubbed into Russian and rebroadcast on local networks, including 2x2, a channel which broadcasts animated series in Moscow and St Petersburg.

A representative for 2x2 was not immediately available for comment.

The Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith had asked prosecutors to ban South Park after it said 20 experts had studied the show for its effect on young viewers.

The group's leader, Konstantin Bendas, said "South Park is just one of many cartoons that need to be banned from open broadcast...as it insults the feelings of religious believers and incites religious and national hatred."   Continued...

 
<p>A backdrop at the Comedy Central television network's South Park The Tenth Season party is pictured featuring (L-R) characters from the series Kid Rock, director Rob Reiner, singer Snoop Dogg and director Steven Spielberg in Los Angeles September 21, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>