Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mika — Will They Be Illegal On Russian Radio?

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«What impact the new Russian laws have on music. The new laws ban ”insulting of religious feelings” and promotion of ”non-traditional sexual relations to minors”. Does this mean that radio stations have to stop playing hits like Lady Gaga’s Born this way or Mika’s Billy Brown? Do those albums get some age limit in the music stores? And what happens to all the blasphemous metal now, did it become illegal in Russia?».

Read this post in Russian

When I finished reading this message from my Finnish colleague who asked me to comment on this issue, I thought that — first of all, these are not the only “strange” laws that Russia’s State Duma has adopted/passed. Among other “strange” laws there are the law regarding the status of the “foreign agents” for NGOs, the law regarding the adoption of Russian children by American families and the law regarding the renaming of Volgograd to Stalingrad during memorable days.

In the case with the law on “insulting of religious feelings” (or as I know it in Russian version – the law on “insulting of believers’ feelings”), I must say that I have not heard much since the law has been adopted. In the contrary, the law regarding the “ban of the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among/to minors” (or as this law is also called in the media – the “anti-gay law“) is still discussed and talked about very much. Sometimes these discussions about the adopted law turn to a complete nonsense.

Here is one of the examples of this nonsense: Some singers (Russian pop-singers in the first place) are reviewed regarding either or not they are the source of the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations. The questioning parties ask the question either or not this singer/performer can be shown on TV. What if minors will see him sing, they ask.

Perhaps, the similar situation we could see with the law regarding the “protection of children from the information which causes harm to children’s health and development” in the first months after the law was adopted. According to this law, media are required to mark all content with the “age limit”. After this law has been adopted in the fall 2012, almost all media outlets in Russia had a question – what content should be labeled with the “age limit”, and what are the rules for this age labeling? (Perhaps you have heard about all the weirdness with “5+” and “0+”).

I think that perhaps music media – and music radio stations – might ask themselves the same question right now: How to know what is “non-traditional sexual relation”? Is it just about “gays”? What is the “traditional sexual relation”? Is the oral sex in a male-female relation “traditional”?

And if we go back to the law regarding the “insulting of religious feelings”, which are now supposed to be protected, then the question would be – what religion is it about and what is a definition of a believer?

From what I could recall by listening to interviews with the authors of the “anti-gay law” and Ms. Mizulina in particular, by “propaganda” the law understands the “targeted dissemination of information on non-traditional sexual relationships among children aimed at the formation of non-traditional sexual settings” (or behavioral prerequisites). Also, as the law authors say, this law does not apply to news programs and programs that are live broadcast. This law also does not apply to “information products, which have an artistic and cultural value”.

What media (and music radio stations) supposed to do? Perhaps, they should translate these laws for themselves and see what fits their particular setting as a media organization.

The laws are adopted but no one told radio stations what are the rules they have to follow. This is why radio stations have to put together their own rules based on subjective commentaries they hear from the lawmakers.

Any law adopted is a half work done, the other half – which might be much more important and risky – the law implementation and those who will control and observe this implementation. Even the best ever law might be a risky tool in hands of the risky watchdogs.

And one more thing: Laws in Russia are always written for the best of Russia’s people and implemented exactly for the cause they were made for… Shall I finish that sentence with an exclamation point or shall I put a question mark there?

Published in Aamulehti news paper (Finland)

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  1. Pingback: Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mika — Станут ли они нелегалами на российском радио? | ФОРТ РОСС

  2. Pingback: Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mika — Станут ли они нелегалами на российском радио? | Media Buro

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