EU seeks to ban porn

This may cheer some Americans who rightly believe that pornography permeates the internet and more should be done to keep children from being able to access it.

But an outright ban because it promotes "gender stereotyping?"


Controversy has erupted over next Tuesday's European Parliament resolution "on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU", meant to mark international women's day, after libertarian Swedish MEPs from the Pirate Party spotted the call for a ban in the small print.

While not legally binding, the vote could be the first step towards European legislation as the EU's assembly increasingly flexes its political muscle within Europe's institutions.

The proposal "calls on the EU and its member states to take concrete action on discrimination against women in advertising... [with] a ban on all forms of pornography in the media".

Kartika Liotard, a Dutch left-wing feminist MEP, is seeking "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", including measures in the "digital field".

The MEPs are also demanding the establishment of state sex censors with "a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation of girls". Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party which campaigns for internet freedom and has MEPs, warned that there is "a clear majority in favour of this report, much because of its title and a belief that there's nothing odd about it".

"This horrendous attack on our fundamental freedoms of speech and expression needs action now," he wrote on his blog.

"This isn't the final vote in the legislative process; rather, it's the first vote in the legislative sausage machine ('what goes in, must come out'). Still, it is important to send a very clear message that this is unacceptable at first opportunity, or it will become a legislative proposal which is much harder to fight."

"Sex censors?" I am dubious - unless, of course, they give me the thankless task of watching all that porn and determining what has to go and what is suitably "gender positive."

But they would never entrust a libertine like me with that job. So the task will probably fall to the usual suspects -- churchmen and feminists.

I don't know too many people who would oppose the idea that there should be far less pornography on the internet. But there aren't too many people who would support the notion that government should decide such matters. Face it: Porn is a price we pay for our liberty. More effort should be made to keep children away from it rather than banning it outright.