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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Watchdog Wants BBC Back on Air

VIENNA -- A global media watchdog Monday protested the decision by a radio station to take Russian-language FM broadcasts by the BBC off the air.

On Friday, the BBC said the decision by Bolshoye Radio, its Moscow distributor, left its Russian-language services available only on medium- and short-wave broadcasts.

Bolshoye Radio's parent company, financial group Finam, said its license did not allow it to retransmit BBC programs and that the station would instead focus on originally produced material.

In a statement Monday, the head of the Vienna-based International Press Institute said he hoped the removal of BBC programming was not the start of a return to Cold War limitations on freedom of expression within Russia.

"I would encourage Bolshoye Radio to allow the BBC World Service to continue broadcasting on the station's airwaves," IPI director Johann Fritz said.