Sep 8, 2008
Oh, this is a fun one. Things to discuss:
1. Why does Russia want to ban South Park?
2. Which episodes offended Russians so much?
3. And why is it legal to ban South Park in Russia?
Answer to #1: Prosecutors in Russia want to ban the award-winning satirical U.S. cartoon "South Park," calling the series "extremist" after receiving viewer complaints. The Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith had asked prosecutors to ban South Park after it said 20 experts had studied the show for its effect on young viewers. The group's leader, Konstantin Bendas, said "South Park is just one of many cartoons that need to be banned from open broadcast...as it insults the feelings of religious believers and incites religious and national hatred."
Answer to #2: Season 3 Episode 15: "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics", which first aired in December 1999. My guess is later seasons have not yet reached Russia? Because otherwise, is an episode from season 3 really the most offensive example they could point to?
Answer to #3: Russia passed a 2006 law widening the definition of extremism to include "the abasement of national dignity" and "inciting religious and national hatred," which backers say was needed to stem a wave of violence aimed at ethnic minorities (not including Georgians, obviously...and several others, I suggest reading information from the SOVA center, which operates in Russia).