Credit card companies targeted in anti-porn drive

WOMEN should force credit card companies to stop supporting the porn industry by threatening to take their business elsewhere.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), which represents more than 300,000 women, last night backed Professor Max Taylor, a leading figure in the fight against child porn, who has called for global pressure to force credit card companies to stop aiding the industry.

Prof Taylor, director of Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe (COPINE), which helps police forces worldwide in the fight against child pornographers, said credit card companies should stop doing business with purveyors of all types of pornography.

NWCI director Dr Joanna McMinn said: “It is up to those of us with credit cards to demand a change in policy. If companies have been identified as having links with the pornography industry, then people should act by taking their business elsewhere.”

Dr McMinn said it was important that the public became aware of this issue. “We believe that there is a real need for an informed public discussion around the issue of pornography; on its content, its origins, how it is used and its effects. The public needs to know the harm that pornography causes. The victims of pornography are powerless to act. It is up to the rest of us those that do have power to demand change,” she said.

Dr McMinn said the NWCI sees pornography as a rights issue. “The rights of those indulging in pornography are being put before the rights of women and children used in this industry. Women and children have the right to live free from sexual slavery, harassment and fear, and to live in dignity with respect and security,” she said.

Dr McMinn said Bank of Ireland withdrew its financial support for British pornography publishing house Remnant Media, as a result of public pressure.

“This has shown that people do have power to influence, and power to bring about change. If companies have been identified as having links with the pornography industry, then people should act by taking their business elsewhere,” she added.

BoI came under sustained pressure after the Irish Examiner revealed the company had provided more than €7 million in finance to the British pornography distributor Remnant Media.

A statement issued by the Bank of Ireland confirmed it was ending its relationship with the porn company as a result of the public outcry to its involvement with the company.

The bank said: “In light of this reaction and, as BoI values the views of its customers, the bank has informed Remnant Media it does not wish to continue with the deal. The bank would like to emphasise it was never its intention to cause offence.”

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