However, there is no precise definition in Russia to distinguish pornographic products from artistic erotica
Russian law-makers have been struggling against video and music piracy for many years already. This problem is considered to be solved in the rest of the world. However, the bootleg industry in Russia continues to develop and prosper in spite of the fact that law-enforcement agencies confiscate and destroy tons of illegal production.
In addition to audio-video piracy, Russia has been waging a longstanding war against pornography for many years. State and public figures of all levels release regular statements, in which they demand one should finally put an end to pornography in Russia, although things remain where they started. X-rated films and scenes appear on the air of federal TV channels, they can be seen in motion picture episodes and on the pages of a whole variety of specific newspapers and magazines.
The federal service for law control in the field of mass communications and the protection of cultural legacy has recently held a work session devoted to the struggle against the growing quantity of pornographic materials in mass media. Members of the discussion decided to address to the State Duma and the government of Russia with a suggestion to give a precise definition of so-called erotic publications and restrict their distribution. In addition, it was offered to establish a special department, which would make its conclusions about the presence of pornographic scenes in motion pictures, TV programs, etc.
The participants of the session believe that the absolute “erotic mess” in the Russian television and press has been caused with imperfect laws. One of the employees of the above-mentioned service said that erotic publications for teenagers exist only in Russia in spite of the fact that they are registered as entertaining magazines.
It is hard to say if the session of the law control service in the field of mass communications is going to bring any practical results. All previous attempts to ban pornography in films failed on account of the fact that Russia does not have a special law on pornography. Furthermore, there is no precise definition to distinguish erotic arts and pornography, for example. A special US law on the matter, for example, strictly stipulates, which parts of the human body can and can not be shown on TV.
Russia could probably learn from the experience of several European countries, in which authorities keep the pornographic industry under control and where the porn business knows its place.
Professor Kirill Razlogov believes that Russian law-makers ought to impose specific economic and legal restrictions on pornographic products. “They have special movie theatres in the West, for instance, whereas pornographic magazines can be found only in sex shops or special quarters, in which sex industry feels at home. People come to those places on purpose, they know what they need to get there, but they will never bump into a news stand filled with porn magazines somewhere downtown, for example. In addition, Western states impose higher taxes on pornographic production too,” the professor said.
According to professor Razlogov, it is rather hard to draw the line between pornography and erotica, because these two phenomena are not stagnant: “My institute regularly conducts research works regarding the definition of pornography for this or that product. We often proceed from esthetical qualities. Explicit scenes can be found in masterpieces too, although the high artistic value of such works of art does not allow us to categorize them as pornographic. This can be particularly said about such outstanding movies as Nagisa Oshima's In The Realm of Passion or Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris,” the professor said.
As for Russian television, adult films cannot be aired on TV before 11:00 p.m. It is important for experts to approach “erotic issues” with single criteria. It can be possible to demonstrate pornographic products on commercial TV channels, at nighttime. Kirill Razlogov is certain that this problem should not be left to local or municipal authorities.
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