News

Russia launches ‘swear bot’ to squash foul mouths

Russia launches ‘swear bot’ to squash foul mouths

CURSE-CRUSHING ROBOT:The "swear-bot" faces a huge task as Russian is known for the breadth and inventiveness of its obscene vocabulary. Photo: clipart.com

By Alessandra Prentice

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian ban on swearing in films, plays and books came into force on Tuesday, a policy designed to appeal to conservatives but which Vladimir Putin’s critics condemned as a further move against free speech.

Under the legislation that was passed in May, films containing “foul language” will be banned from wide release and books with swear words will have to be sold in sealed packages with obscenity warnings.

Theaters will not be allowed to stage productions containing obscenities according to the law, which imposes fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($1,500) for each infraction.

Russian media have reported that software known as the “swear-bot” will be used to police cursing on the Internet.

The law is meant to ensure “the protection and development of linguistic culture,” according to a statement on the Kremlin’s website. But critics say it is reminiscent of Soviet-era censorship and will suppress free expression.

Putin has struck a conservative tone in his latest presidential term, praising what he calls traditional values and holding up the Russian Orthodox Church as a moral authority.

Last month, newspaper Izvestiya said communications watchdog Roskomnadzor planned to use a search program to root out rude words in online articles and comments attached to them.

The 25 million-rouble ($729,500) system will search the 5,000 mass media sites that are already monitored manually, the report said.

The “swear-bot” faces a huge task as Russian is known for the breadth and inventiveness of its obscene vocabulary.

A dictionary of Russian swear words lists over 1,200 different phrases that use a single slang term for “penis.”

Russian novelist Fyodr Dostoevsky wrote in the 19th century: “It’s possible to express all thoughts, feelings and even deep analytical thoughts just by saying this one noun.”

The swearing law follows stricter rules on bloggers and restrictions on non-state media that critics say were part of a campaign to bring independent media under Kremlin control, something the government denies.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Coming soon: The Mustache Hall of Fame

burtreynolds

There are halls of fame for everything from baseball to rock 'n' roll, so why not those with a hairy upper lip?

in Entertainment

Inspiration for ‘Harry Potter’ nemesis revealed

harrypotter

J.K. Rowling says the much-hated character Dolores Umbridge is based on a teacher to whom she took an instant dislike.

in Music

‘Blurred Lines’ dispute heading to trial

thickepharrell

Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams are heading to trial over allegations they illegally sampled music from Marvin Gaye.

in Entertainment

Pee-wee Herman headed back to big screen

peewee

Actor Paul Reubens is set to reprise his role as suited man-boy Pee-wee Herman in a new movie.