Russian Cable Company Suspends BBC, CNN and Bloomberg Broadcasts

A major Russian cable operator temporarily suspended broadcasts by the British Broadcasting Corp., Cable News Network and Bloomberg Television, saying the channels had ignored repeated requests to obtain licenses.

Akado, an Internet and cable-television provider owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg that distributes content to a million households in Moscow, restored the broadcasts today after the government licensing authority said it would intervene. The Moscow-based cable network suspended the three English-language news channels on July 10.

Russian lawmakers yesterday approved new controls over the Internet criticized by web companies including Russian search-engine operator Yandex NV, Wikipedia and LiveJournal blogging service as well as the U.S. government.

BBC World News was temporarily taken off air on Akado in Russia and the service has now been restored, the broadcaster said in an e-mailed statement. Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg News, is seeking a license for Russian television broadcasts, Lindsey Oliver, commercial director at Bloomberg Television, said in an e-mailed statement. Christa Robinson, a spokeswoman for CNN, didn’t immediately respond.

There was no connection between the Internet restrictions and the suspension of BBC, CNN and Bloomberg broadcasts, Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media Alexei Volin said by phone, adding that the stoppage was a result of “technical and organizational trouble.”

Akado said in an e-mailed statement that it had warned the BBC, CNN and Bloomberg twice since December about the need to secure government licenses and hasn’t received “any formal acceptance of this.”

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