Russia Bans Swearing: Another Attack On Free Speech?

Starting in July, films, music, media and other "public displays" of art featuring profanity will be illegal in Russia.

Russia Bans Swearing: Another Attack On Free Speech?
World Economic Forum

Russia is banning swearing. Are you sh-----g us?! 

Last month, the Russian parliament passed a bill banning profanity from films, music and other public displays of art or "cultural events." (Via BBC)

And on Monday, Vladimir Putin signed off on the new law. When it goes into effect July 1, CNN reports:

 – Movies with profanity won't be distributed

– Copies of books, CDs and movies containing swearing will only be sold in explicitly labeled sealed packages

– People caught swearing in public will be fined up to $70 (U.S.)

– Businesses will be fined as much as $1,400 and face months-long suspensions

– Public officials only face a $40 fine

Just what counts as profanity will be determined by a "panel of experts," and the definition of what counts as a "public display" is pretty broad. Complex argues the law's loose language could be used to limit even broad expressions of public speech.

The Wall Street Journal reports the law is made to look like a push to clean up Russia's image and make everything more family-friendly. But observers say in reality, it's part of the country's continued attack on freedom of speech — the new restrictions equate bloggers with mainstream media, and they face the same hefty fines. 

But Animal New York says, this can't be enforceable, right? 

"It's not like the Kremlin has ever fined newspapers for reporting on a gay person ('gay propaganda'), blocked entire social media networks for protest ('extremist') information, put people in jail for dancing in a church ('hooliganism with the intent to incite religious hatred') or tried to bring 'blasphemy' back."

Oh wait, it has done all of those things. 

This new law comes about a year after the country passed a similar one that fines media outlets for using "vulgarities." Back then, RT's Tim Kirby had to ask, just what exactly is this accomplishing?

KIRBY: "So the government is basically saying if some guy on TV guns down 20 people with blood and limbs flying, that that is totally OK for television ... unless they, God forbid, swear while doing it."

Well, from America, I'm Brice Sander. Have a great effing day.