Friday, July 21, 2006

No Joke

In the Moscow Times, Lynn Berry writes about how making jokes about Vladimir Putin could soon become a very dangerous form of entertainment in Russia:
There are no jokes about Putin, and if there were, they would be in bad taste, snapped an art historian, an old friend.

But Russians also have reason to be afraid of making fun of their president. For one thing, if a bill working its way through the parliament becomes law, slandering the president would be a crime. Political candidates and their parties could be barred from elections. Journalists could be jailed and their news organizations shut down. Even without this law, the editor of an Internet newspaper was called in for questioning and had his site closed down in May after satirizing Putin's plan to encourage families to have more children.
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