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    Russia's adult cartoon channel glad to have license extended

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    MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's adult cartoon 2x2 TV channel thanked the federal TV and radio watchdog body on Friday for extending its license for another five years amid a row over 'extremist' cartoons such as South Park.

    On Thursday, Rossvyazkomnadzor approved a decision on extending the license of the 2x2 TV channel, which was due to expire on Friday, until October 17, 2013. The move was earlier recommended by the Russian federal broadcasting commission.

    The TV channel had been accused by the Russian prosecutors of promoting "violence, cruelty, and pornography" in broadcasting mainly U.S. adult-oriented cartoons.

    Rafael Akopov, the head of the ProfMedia company that owns 2x2, said that Rossvyazkomnadzor had taken the decision to support the TV channel despite "manipulative pressure" on state-controlled bodies.

    In early September, Russian prosecutors upheld a complaint from a religious group against the adult-oriented cartoon network for "overt propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia." The 2x2 company was issued with a warning and the case was referred to court.

    A week after being warned about its 'extremist' content, the TV channel stopped broadcasting 12 cartoons, including South Park and The Simpsons, until the situation was resolved.

    The channel faced similar accusations in March 2008, when Russian Protestant leaders submitted a request to the Prosecutor General's Office asking for the channel's license to be revoked, saying it "promotes immorality and violence."

    Hundreds of cartoon fans staged rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg last month to show their support for the channel.

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