Russian law bans swearing in arts and media

Moscow cinema entrance - file pic It is not yet clear how Russian censors will deal with swearing in imported films

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning all swearing in films, television broadcasts, theatres and the media.

Offenders will face fines - as much as 50,000 roubles (£829; $1,400) for organisations, or up to 2,500 roubles (£41; $70) for individuals.

Where disputes arise a panel of experts will decide exactly what counts as a swear word.

Books containing swear words will have to carry warnings on the cover.

Russia's Vesti news website says that, according to sociologists' research, swearing is common in two-thirds of Russian companies.

The law will take effect from 1 July and will not apply to cases of swearing at performances before that date.

A leading pro-Putin film director and now MP, Stanislav Govorukhin, was one of the new law's architects.

The law harks back to the conservatism of the Soviet period, when the Communist Party required artists and writers to avoid "decadent" Western fashions and to stick to traditional values.

Traders who fail to give consumers warnings about swearing in videos or other audiovisual products will risk having their licences withdrawn.

It is not clear whether the ban on swearing in the media will also extend to Russian users of international social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

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