MOSCOW, January 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s lower house of parliament approved a bill imposing fines for coarse language in the media in the first reading on Friday.
The bill, proposed by a group of lawmakers last November, stipulates fines from 2,000 to 3,000 rubles (about $70-$100) for individuals, from 5,000 to 20,000 rubles ($165-$700) for officials and from 20,000 to 200,000 rubles ($700-$7,000) for legal entities.
The Russian government has voiced disapproval of the bill.
Media experts believe the issue of coarse language should be up to the media outlets themselves to decide. Proponents of the bill have argued the Russian media has so far been unable to deal with the issue.
A United Russia lawmaker, Vladimir Ponevezhsky, warned against underestimating the influence of the media on people’s minds.
“Our children must be protected from the flow of coarse language that comes from the media,” he said.
“The media should become a frame of reference for [ethical] behavior,” Communist Party lawmaker Tatyana Pletnyova added.
LDPR party deputy Sergei Ivanov said that while his party opposes coarse language, the law is unlikely to be implemented properly and produce the desired effect. “Children do not learn coarse language from the media, they learn it on the streets,” he said.
A Just Russia lawmaker Yevdokiya Bychkova said fines should also be imposed on Internet websites and forums that host “flame wars in obscene language.”