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Russian watchdog takes aim at Viasat in drive against foreign channels

The body that oversees telecoms and mass communications in Russia, the Roskomnadzor, has accused the Modern Times Group-owned Viasat History channel of disseminating extremist views and of broadcasting programmes that falsified the history of the Second World War, according to local reports.

The agency’s chief, Maxim Ksendzov, also accused the channel of making “practically Wahhabi-ite” statements, according to the Vedomosti business newspaper.

The agency has been critical of the content of a number of foreign channels recently. Viasat has a licence for satellite broadcasts in the country but the situation for many foreign channels regarding licences to broadcast on cable networks remains unclear, and the Roskomnadzor began investigating cable networks in the country last month. Service provider Comstar-UTS removed Viasat History and Viasat Explorer earlier this month, a decision it said was commercially based.