Religious Russians target cartoon channel

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Protestant groups in Moscow are urging for the closure of a cartoon channel they claim promotes homosexuality and religious intolerance.

Channel 2×2, which broadcasts Western cartoons such as South Park, has been accused of promoting “homosexual propaganda”.

It is the second time in a week that the network, owned by Vladimir Potanin’s Prof-Media Group, has come under fire for its contents.

Vitaly Vlasenki, a spokesman for The Consultative Council of the Heads of Protestant Churches in Russia, told the Moscow Times the group had sent a letter to Prosecutor General Yury Chaika on Wednesday accusing the network of promoting “cruelty, violence, homosexual propaganda, religious hatred and intolerance”

But Yekaterina Doglosheveva, head of corporate affairs for Prof-Media, dismissed the criticism from the religious group.

Doglosheveva said: “The Federal Culture and Cinematography Agency may be able to control the activities of our channel, but the Protestants cannot.”

Last week 2×2 pulled two of its shows, Happy Tree Friends and The Adventures of Big Jeff, after receiving a warning from the government media watchdog that the shows promoted “a cult of violence and brutality.”

The channel, which also broadcasts The Simpsons, has built a cult following in Russia despite gaining just 1.9 percent of the audience share last month, according to the most recent ratings figures.

The MTV channel in Russia also shows South Park, but has yet to receive any criticism from the Protestant group.

Vlasenki added: “We’ve only seen these types of programs on 2×2. If they’re also playing on MTV, then we’ll send a letter about them too.”