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 Sports

Knicks spoil James’ homecoming

Fresh
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) brings the ball up against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the second quarter of a preseason exhibition basketball game Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Cleveland.

The New York Knicks ruined the megastar's emotional homecoming with a 95-90 victory over the Cavaliers on Thursday night.

in Sports

Winston, Florida State rally to beat Louisville

Fresh
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston (5) signs autographs after an NCAA college football game against Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State beat Syracuse 59-3.

Dalvin Cook had two long scoring runs to help second-ranked Florida State rally for a 42-31 victory over Louisville on Thursday night.

in Local Sports

Sounders to face F.C. Dallas in conference semi-finals

Fresh
FC Dallas's Michel celebrates as he jogs to midfield after scoring on a penalty kick against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the second half of an MLS playoff soccer match, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won 2-1.

The Sounders went 2-1 against Dallas in the regular season.

in Local Sports

Husky women picked to finish 5th

Fresh
Washington's Kelsey Plum walks up court against California in an NCAA women's basketball game Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Seattle.

The University of Washington Husky women’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 for the 2014-15 season.

in Local Sports

Marysville gives football trophy to Oak Harbor

Fresh
A sign at Marysville Pilchuck High School promotes conference days in Marysville, Wash., Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, the afternoon after a morning shooting in the school's cafeteria. Officials announced that the school would be closed all next week.

The Daily Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1tGnQ3B ) Tomahawk and Wildcat players hugged, shared pizza and played catch on the field at Oak Harbor together.