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[HCDX] Dispute Knocks BBC Russia Off Air



Dispute Knocks BBC Russia Off Air

23/12/2005 11:02 AM
Reuters
A legal dispute has knocked the BBC's Russian service off the air in Moscow, 
officials said on Thursday, although the corporation insisted all its 
licences were in order.

Konstantin Eggert, Moscow bureau editor for the BBC's Russian service, said 
the company which broadcasts the corporation's programmes had lost its 
licence, causing it to lose its medium wave transmission in the Russian 
capital.

"We officially have a right to broadcast. We were not the ones who lost the 
right to broadcast, it was the service provider," he told Reuters.

Grigory Kliger, head of the Oktod operating company, told Moscow's Ekho 
Moskvy radio that the license for the frequency had run out and that the 
documents needed to renew it had not been ready in time.

Russian news agencies reported that the service provider, which broadcasts 
the British Broadcasting Corporation's news in Russian along with 
English-language programming, did not have a licence from the federal agency 
that regulated programming.

A spokesman for the agency (Rosokhrankultura) told Interfax news agency that 
the BBC made its broadcasts without a broadcasting license.

"The BBC only had a technical license from the Communications Ministry, but 
it did not have a licence from (our agency)," the spokesman said.

But other officials said the problem arose from a mix-up rather than from 
any desire to halt the broadcasts.

The BBC is well-known and prestigious in Russia and its service was popular 
in Soviet times for Russians keen to find a Western source of news.

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