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Simpsons, South Park & Family Guy Seen as Porn and Immoral

A tv network in Russia has been forced to suspend broadcasts of 3 animation series namely "The Simpsons", "South Park" and "Family Guy" on grounds that these shows are pornographic, extremiest and immoral.

On Wednesday, a meeting of a government monitoring agency could take channel 2×2 off the air starting next month after a protest campaign by religious groups against the irreverent US cartoons.

Fans of the cartoons say critics just don’t get the joke and are engaging in Soviet-style moral censorship, while opponents say the cartoons are poisoning the minds of Russia’s young.

“I’ve got no problem with my sense of humour but any satire has its limits,” said Konstantin Bendas, a Pentecostal pastor and father of three who is heading the campaign and has written a formal complaint to prosecutors.

“If a character in a cartoon says ‘All Jews are stupid’ is that funny? If Christian communion is compared to eating faeces, is that funny?,” he asked, referring to some of the 20 episodes of South Park he has watched.

Following Bendas’s complaint, channel 2×2 now also faces a criminal investigation under strict new Russian legislation against extremism for broadcasting the notoriously foul-mouthed South Park.

Judging by a highly critical statement issued by the prosecutor general’s office this month, the prospects for the channel and its cartoons appear bleak in a Russia that commentators say is becoming increasingly conservative.

“The cartoons broadcast by 2×2 propagandise violence, cruelty, pornography and anti-social behaviour,” the statement said.

“They are full of scenes of mutilation and infliction of physical and moral suffering that evoke fear, panic and terror in children.

“This media product is of low moral and ethical content and has an extremely negative effect on children, it perverts their moral orientation and increases the danger of panic and neurotic ailments.”

Prosecutors also said the channel was in breach of legislation for the protection of children and rules against “the proliferation through the media of material propagandising pornography, a cult of violence and cruelty.”

A spokeswoman for 2×2, Maria Telesheva, dismissed criticism of the cartoons.

“We hope the federal broadcast monitoring service takes into account the opinion of our 11 million viewers and the support that we’ve had in the past two weeks,” Telesheva told AFP, adding that viewers liked the cartoons.

The channel also insists in its defence that any violent cartoons are only shown at night and are not aimed at a children’s audience.

The Federal Service for Monitoring in the Sphere of Connections and Mass Communications is set to meet on Wednesday to discuss whether or not to renew the channel’s licence, which runs out on October 17.

In the run-up to the ruling, teenagers dressed in black — some with studs and punk haircuts, others dressed as South Park characters — have protested in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the two cities where the channel is shown.

So far the dispute seems a classic generational conflict, with defenders of morals on one side and a thriving Russian counter-culture on the other.

But channel executives have suggested in recent interviews that the religious campaign could just be a cover-up for corporate raiding.

“Someone apparently needs our frequency… There’s this bloodlust, there really seems to be an organised campaign against this channel,” 2×2 director Roman Sarkisov said in an interview with the Kommersant daily this month.

Pro-Kremlin member of parliament Pavel Tarakanov on Tuesday said the channel’s frequency could be taken over by a new state-controlled patriotic youth channel instead of cartoon “pornography”.

“We need to form a new generation of Russians for the 21st century that wants to live in a civilized country and be proud of it. That’s why we need a media platform with a large audience,” Tarakanov told Interfax news agency.

The cartoons shown by 2×2 “can only bring about the degradation and corruption of a young generation and will damage our culture and state,” said Tarakanov, a member of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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