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Russian KOs Media Censorship Bill

April 21, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ A bill that would have allowed lawmakers to close radio and television stations if broadcasts were found to be morally impure was defeated Wednesday when parliament failed to override a presidential veto.

The bill, approved by both houses of Russia’s parliament in early March, would have called for lawmakers to establish a council to monitor television and radio broadcasts. The council would have been empowered to strip stations of their licenses for airing material deemed immoral.

President Boris Yeltsin vetoed the bill in March, saying it amounted to censorship.

Hard-liners who dominate the lower house have decried the rise in sex and violence on Russian television and radio since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and its strict media censorship. Many Russian stations now buy bolder Western programs or have developed their own, more racy, shows.

Communists in parliament have also demanded greater control over television and radio, saying they are too politically liberal and need to be reined in.

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