Yelena Mizulina, chairperson of the Russian State Duma’s committee for Family, Women, and Children, is attempting to amend an Internet censorship law that would ban swear word on the web.
Mizulina’s proposed modifications would affect social networks, social media, and forums. If offending material is not deleted within 24 hours, the page would then be blocked and added to a blacklist.
This is the latest in a series of ridiculous proposals by Mizulina, which included requiring dating sites to use passport verification. She was also behind the recent homophobic national “On The Protection of Children Law,” which aims to ‘protect’ children from hearing about the ‘lifestyle choices’ of homosexuals. This means that homosexual people discovered to be “promoting non-traditional relations to minors” can be held liable for fines up to 100,000 roubles.
Chairman of the Moscow Regional Bar Association, Sergei Smirnov spoke to the Russian website Pravda, which broke the news, and praised the proposal, calling it “relevant and timely.” He went on to say, “Obscene language offends both children and adults. A ban on its use is not an infringement on human rights. This is a direction towards a civilized lifestyle. If we do not use foul language in real life, then why do we use it on the Internet? Deputy Mizulina calls to protect vulnerable layers of the population–particularly children. I think that this initiative should be supported.”
The Human Rights House believes that the new law would actually be used to silence people who criticize Russia’s government. Similar laws have recently been enacted within the country. Earlier this year, Russia enacted a law that bans the use of swear words on the country’s media outlets. Russia has also made it illegal for companies to make products featuring swear words. An analysis of the existing law by the Library of Congress concludes that while abuse and neglect of children is a wide-ranging systemic problem, the passage of these laws is unlikely to improve the welfare of Russia’s underage population. The summary of this analysis reads:
“In spite of the efforts of the international community and Russia’s non-governmental organizations, there is no machinery yet for making Russia a country with a developed legal system and enforceable legislation aimed at the protection of children. It all depends on the degree of realization by Russia’s leadership of the gravity of this problem and on its civilized standards for solving it effectively and protecting its underage population.”