Target: President Vladimir Putin
Goal: Lift ban on profanity in media
President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, recently signed into law a ban on profanity at arts, cultural and entertainment events in the country. This aggressive law violates a human’s right to free speech and is a part of a slew of laws meant to curb freedom of speech in the nation.
Films made in Russia that have swear words will not be given a distribution certificate, and books or CDs that contain obscene language must be a sealed package that has a label that says, “Contains Obscene Language.” Even plays or rock stars will not be able to swear in public spaces. According to the law, if one is caught swearing, the individual can be fined up to $70, while officials can be fined up to $40, and businesses nearly $1,400. Those with repeat offenses can face a higher fine and a three month suspension of business. An independent exam will determine what is or isn’t profane – a system that will no doubt be abused by the Russian government.
The new legislation specifically “bans the use of obscene language when ensuring the rights of Russian citizens to the use of the state language and protecting and developing language culture.” The law could come into effect by July 1, but current works of art are not subjected to the law.
Some are commending this legislation for cleaning up the Russian language, but many activists and organizations like Amnesty International say this law is violating freedom of speech. The Russian government have placed other barriers to freedom of speech, like incriminating those who speak positively about homosexuality near minors. Russia has also required bloggers who have a high number of hits to register their profile, preventing them from being anonymous.
Russia should not have this much power over what their citizens say. Sign this petition and urge the president to strike down this ban so Russian citizens can have the freedom to swear where they please.
Dear President Vladimir Putin,
You recently signed into law a ban on profanity, and punishments should an individual be caught swearing. This law also bans the use of swear words in public places and many are calling this a violation of free speech. I am inclined to agree and I am writing to demand that you strike down this ban.
It is absolutely ridiculous that individuals and businesses can be fined for profanity. I also find it unfair that an individual is punished more harshly than a official, which shows a clear bias for the law. The government should not have this much control in what their people say and I am demanding you to revoke this law immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office via Wikimedia