Rape Crisis group backs MEPs' call to ban porn

The Rape Crisis Network has backed a proposal by Dutch MEPs to ban all forms of pornography, which would include internet porn.

It emerged yesterday that Kartika Liotard, an MEP linked with the Confederal Group of the European United Left, has tabled a proposal demanding “statutory measures to prevent any form of pornography in the media and in advertising, and for a ban on advertising for pornographic products and sex tourism”, with the scope of any ban to include the “digital field”.

It comes as Icelandic politicians began debating a possible pornography ban in that country and as a recent study here indicated that children are viewing pornography at a much younger age than before.

The resolution is to be debated at the European Parliament next Tuesday and already some other MEPs have criticised the measure, arguing that it compromises personal freedoms.

But Fiona Neary, director of the RCNI, said the proposal was “opening up a very interesting debate”.

“I certainly think it is worth considering,” Ms Neary said of the proposal. “I would not automatically rule it out.”

She said the “proliferation of pornography” meant it was not something that was in the “realm of being harmless” and that the issue needed to be debated.

“The age at which children are viewing pornography is lowering all the time and it is becoming almost a substitute for sex education.

“We need to get beyond the black and white debate of censorship versus free speech.

“We need to start looking at what we can do rather than being paralysed by the internet.”

The motion is just one tabled for next Tuesday’s debate on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU.

The parliament could debate calls from some members that the EU and its member states should take action on its 1997 resolution on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism.

Any vote would not be legally binding but some MEPs have already voiced their opposition, including the Swedish Pirate Party which supports internet freedoms.

One of its MEPs, Christian Engstrom, described the proposals as “an absolute disgrace”.

Iceland is currently debating whether to use internet filters that would prevent its citizens from accessing pornography online.


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