WASHINGTON — Cable News Network has been granted permission to routinely receive transmissions of Soviet television pictures direct from the Soviet satellite system.
The permit is subject to instant cancellation without hearing any time "such revocation is in the public or national interest," a statement from the Federal Communications Commission said.
John M. Coles, of the commission's international facilities division, said he did not think the government would use the instant revocation clause to censor reports.
"This is not related to content or programming," he said.
CNN has obtained permission from time to time to receive special events coverage from the Soviet Union, including last year's telecasts of the "Friendship Games," which the Soviets set up when they withdrew from the 1984 Olympics.
The license, which Coles said is the first one allowing routine reception from Soviet satellites, expires in six months. However, CNN can apply for renewal.
The FCC action was approved by the State Department and by Intelsat, the consortium of nations that operates a satellite system that competes with Intersputnik.
Under an agreement between CNN and Moscow, the Soviets will be able to select portions of CNN programming for use on Soviet TV.
Bob Ross, vice president and general counsel for the Turner Broadcasting Company, which owns CNN, said the network plans to use a range of news footage, which the Soviets transmit every night to Cuba and other Soviet-bloc countries, as part of CNN's regular 24-hour a day newscasts.
Ross said the company was "disturbed by the implications inherent in the limits" on the license. "The government's implicit control of the sources of news is in conflict with the First Amendment," he said.