Moscow — British Broadcasting Corp. said Friday that its Russian-language FM broadcasts have been taken off the air by its Moscow distributor, which called the programs "foreign propaganda."
The decision by Bolshoye Radio - and similar moves by two other radio stations in the past year - leaves the BBC's Russian-language services available only on medium- and short-wave broadcasts, the BBC said.
Bolshoye Radio's parent company, financial group Finam, said that its license did not allow it to retransmit BBC's programs and that the station will instead focus on originally produced material.
"It's no secret that the BBC was established as a broadcaster of foreign propaganda," company spokesman Igor Ermachenkov told The Associated Press.
Ermachenkov said management made the decision without outside interference. However, the move comes amid criticism that President Vladimir Putin's government has stifled media freedoms as part of an effort to increase Kremlin control over Russian political life.