From 1 July bad language will not be permitted in films, television, theater, and all public performances in Russia, The Moscow Times reports. The law signed by President Vladimir Putin 5 May allows violators to be punished by a fine of up to 50,000 rubles ($1,400) for companies and organizations or 2,500 rubles ($70) for individuals. Books containing obscene language must display a warning sticker on the cover.
In addition, films containing obscene language will not receive official licensing, RT writes. Cinemas that screen unlicensed films will risk fines of between 100,000 and 200,000 rubles and a three-month suspension.
Cultural figures reacted with shock, claiming the law constrains their work and may violate intellectual property laws.
“They [the government] want to designate their territory: this can be said and this cannot,” linguist Vadim Rudnev told The Moscow Times. “In reality it is a common practice to swear among the intelligentsia.”
The law follows one in late April that prohibits swearing in the media, with fines of up to 200,000 rubles. RT reports that the government has begun testing software to monitor online media content – both articles and user comments – for banned words, although it is not entirely clear what those words are.
A Culture Ministry spokeswoman said the law “is not aggressive.” According to the ministry, “the newly passed measures will only concern mass culture and will not concern art,” The Moscow Times writes.
The Institute of Russian Language at the Russian Academy of Sciences in December listed four words that should be banned, The Moscow Times writes.
According to RT, a 2013 poll showed that 84 percent of Russians supported a ban on obscene language.
Russia extends swearing ban to cultural performances