From THE LOCAL (Sweden):

The Swedish affiliate of broadcaster Comedy Central has said it will not show two controversial episodes of US satirical cartoon show South Park depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a bear costume.

"Comedy Central has decided not to air these two episodes of South Park. It is a decision we've made with great reluctance. Comedy Central believes strongly in creative freedom of expression; when unique and deeply insightful creative talents like those behind South Park are able to express themselves freely, we all benefit. However, the safety of our employees is our unquestioned number one priority, and therefore we have decided to take these precautionary measures," the broadcaster explained in a statement.

Spokesman Peter von Satzgerl told the Svenska Dagbladet daily that the decision came as a result of "international directives" from the channel's parent network in the United States.

The Muhammad joke formed part of a 200th anniversary episode screened in the US on April 14th, prompting threats of retribution from an Islamist group directed towards the show's creators.

The pair appeared to heed the warning last week when the second part of the centenary show was aired, with the word Censored appearing after the Muslim prophet's name was mentioned.

The original broadcast of the show was watched by 3.33 million US viewers but, following the Comedy Central decision, Swedish viewers will now have to find other ways to access the controversial episode of the smash hit show.

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