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Russian media censor says its warning to CNN concerns a ‘trivial violation’

Source: Interfax

Russian regulators have issued an administrative warning to the American cable news network CNN. Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator, says the warning concerns a “trivial violation” of broadcasting rules. “This sort of thing happens often,” he said, explaining that CNN published incorrect masthead information that it’s required by law to report on the air.

The maximum fine for broadcasting “incorrect output data” in Russia is 10,000 rubles ($170).

Zharov told the news agency RIA Novosti that state officials have no plans to shut down CNN’s operations in Russia, insisting that the TV network only has to correct the masthead error. According to Russian law, the procedure to pull a media outlet’s broadcasting license only begins after an outlet has received two official warnings.

Members of United Russia, the country’s ruling political party, have previously accused CNN and the U.S.-government-funded media outlet Radio Svoboda of meddling in Russia’s 2016 State Duma elections. Russia’s Federation Council later created a special commission to battle foreign political interference.

Alexander Zharov says Roskomnadzor’s warning to CNN is not a response to reports that the U.S. Justice Department recently ordered an RT contractor to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (legislation enacted during World War II to suppress Nazi propaganda). “I don’t work in a political agency, I work in a regulatory agency, and we identify violations in the media and respond to these violations,” Zharov said.