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Lawmakers seek banning swear words from social networks and blogs

July 30, 2013, 11:54 UTC+3

State Duma’s idea to make the internet “ecologically” and “hygienically” clean by means of a new surgery has raised doubts not only in the internet community

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State Duma parliamentarians, who have recently passed a law banning the use of swear words in media outlets, have decided to spread this ban to social networks and even blogs. Experts reacted to this initiative ambivalently.

State Duma Committee for family, women and children affairs is preparing a bill that offers to spread the bans imposed on Internet media to social networking sites, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily writes. As one of the most efficient measures to fight foul language in the internet they regard ban of web pages of those users who excessively use obscene words. The intention is to prevent children, for whom the internet became a substitute of real life, learning bad things in that space.

State Duma’s idea to make the internet “ecologically” and “hygienically” clean by means of a new surgery has raised doubts not only in the internet community. Speaking at round-table discussions devoted to the issue of swearing words on the internet, Deputy Head of Vinogradov Russian Language Institute’s department for experimental lexicography, Anatoly Barinov, noted that he had supported such ban for media. He claims that people “who don’t know swear words and don’t want to learn them” must be protected against these words. But social networks are “private communications”, he added. According to Barinov, children learn obscenities not from the internet, but at school, in the family, at playgrounds. And this is where the discussions must begin.

Deputy Head of the department for state policy in media at the Russian Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Communications Arseny Nedyak, commenting to the newspaper on deputies-offered amendments to the law “On Protection of Children from Information Harming their Health and Development”, admitted that the ministry tries to “minimize” grounds for banning sites. “The network cannot be blocked indefinitely,” these are extreme measures. He believes “absolute evil” must be banned from the internet, including propaganda of child pornography, drugs and suicides. Nedyak believes that it is necessary to follow the self regulation mechanism when solving the problem of obscenities in blogs and social networks.

Ruslan Gattarov from the Federation Council upper house of parliament reminds the readers that attempts had already been made to ban foul language in the most popular blog - Live Journal, but it turned out that the Russian language is too mighty, and resists machine verification. It is enough to add a suffix to the radical for the system not to consider this a swear word. That is why foul words are banned in Live Journal only in headlines. One can also add letters to words or omit them, or change their places, replace radicals. This will only make obscenities funnier and fruitier, while the whole control would be for nothing.

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