Russian TV bans South Park episode

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The Independent Online

A Russian TV channel has cut a segment of the ribald US cartoon comedy, South Park, that appeared to mock Vladimir Putin, a spokesman says.

Channel 2X2 cut material from the show portraying Putin as a greedy and desperate leader, the network's spokesman said. The decision prompted criticism and furious discussion on Russia blogs.

The Soviet collapse loosened the reins on news and information, and open mocking of government officials was popular in the 1990s.

Under Putin's presidency, however, there's been a noticeable shift away from biting satire.

Channel NTV was forced to pull its satirical puppet show, Kukly, in 2002 after the Kremlin objected to the excessive lampooning of Putin.