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Finland Cable TV Drops Pornography

December 14, 2002

HELSINKI, Finland (AP) _ Cable television stations in Finland are dropping late-night pornography from their programming in response to political pressure and a lack of interest by advertisers.

Three Helsinki stations began broadcasting pornography four years ago; previously it had been available only to pay-per-view customers.

The programs are now being canceled in what appears to be part of a conservative trend in the country of 5.2 million people. Two stations cited pressure from cable operators and lack of advertising, while the third called it a business decision.

Moon TV said the programming attracted about 50,000 viewers in eight cities after 11 p.m. each night, but CEO Kristina Autio said there wasn’t enough advertising to make it profitable.

``The show is definitely one our most popular shows _ if not the most popular,″ Autio said. ``But we’re not worried. I think we will end up gaining more advertisers by the change.″

Jari Ohman, CEO of TV-Tampere, said people can ``always speculate that this has to do with the upcoming elections, or outside pressure. But for us is it is simply a matter of running a profitable business.″

Finland is holding national elections in March.

In July, four prominent daily newspapers including Helsingin Sanomat _ the country’s biggest newspaper _ jointly announced they would clean up their classified sections, which they said were being used to solicit prostitution. Other newspapers followed suit.

Earlier this week, 100 lawmakers signed a petition to outlaw prostitution _ a debate fast turning into a key issue in the upcoming election.

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