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Russia’s Duma to consider bill on penalties for obscene words in stage productions

April 22, 2014, 7:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW
1 pages in this article

MOSCOW, April 22, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Duma is expected to have the second - and the main - reading of a bill introducing penalties for obscene words in theatrical productions, entertainment shows on the stage and movies shown through cinematic distribution networks.

The bill was endorsed in the first reading more than a year ago. It was initiated by a group of MPs with the chairman of the parliamentary committee for culture, film director Stanislav Govorukhin.

The bill proposes to levy fines for organizing “a public display of a work of literature, art or folk arts containing obscene expletives in the form of a theatrical performance or entertainment show.” The penalties will range from 2,000 to 2,500 rubles of individuals, from 4,000 to 5,000 rubles for officials, and from 40,000 to 50,000 rubles for legal entities.

Repeat offenders will face tougher sanctions up to a suspension of business licenses for three months.

The bill also bans the use of obscene expletives during the public demonstration of films at movie houses, as well as in stage productions, at the opening ceremonies of exhibitions, at concerts and so on. Only the literary Russian language can be used in all of these situations.

Special expert commissions will be set up to track down the words and expressions that are not deemed publically acceptable.

One of the most important provisions of the bill is a ban on the issuance of distribution licenses if a movie contains obscene words and expressions. Along with it, the releasing of movies without licenses will be subject to fines varying from 50,000 to 100,000 rubles.

A repeated offense will entail a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 rubles or a suspension of business operations for up to three months.

Also, no movie of Russian make shall be deemed part of national heritage if it contains obscene swearwords and expressions.

Also, the MPs propose to make it mandatory for releasers of audio/visual produce and books to put a special mark saying ‘obscene swearwords’ on their products and to introduce a mandatory requirement, along with which such products will be sold in packages only.

The absence of such warnings will be punishable by the penalties identical to those for obscenities in theatrical productions and films.

The bill is not retroactive and its provisions will not be applied to the products released prior to its passage into law.

If the Duma passes it Tuesday, it will take effect as of July 1, 2014.

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