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Russian Paper Accused Of Inciting Religious Hatred

(RFE/RL) 15 February 2006 -- A spokesman for Russia's media supervisory body, Rosohrankultura, has warned Russian media they may have their registration cancelled if they publish materials inciting religious animosities.

The warning came after a newspaper in the southern city of Volgograd published a cartoon of religious figures to illustrate an article on fighting nationalism and xenophobia.

The local branch of the Kremlin-backed Unified Russia party accused "Gorodskie vesti" of inciting religious hatred and called for a boycott of the daily. The newspaper denies the accusations.

Local prosecutors said they are looking into the publication to see whether there are grounds for opening a criminal investigation.

The "Gorodskie vesti" cartoon shows Jesus, Moses, Buddha, and the Prophet Muhammad watching on television two groups of people about to start a fight. The caption reads: "We did not teach you that." The cartoon illustrates an article titled "Racists Have No Place In Government."

(Interfax, RIA Novosti)