European Union Vote Could Push Law to Ban All Porn in Media

Mar 7, 2013 8:00 AM PST

LUXEMBOURG — Masked behind a resolution for eliminating gender stereotypes in the European Union, the European Parliament is set to vote on a report next week that could foster legislation aimed at putting a “ban on all forms of pornography in the media.”

Next Tuesday’s vote is also targeted at halting the objectification of women. The report states that there is an "increasingly noticeable tendency ... to show provocatively dressed women in sexual poses." It further maintains that porn is becoming mainstream and is "slipping into our everyday lives as an ever more universally accepted, often idealized, cultural element.”

But critics are claiming it’s an insidious attempt to shackle civil liberties in the 27 member state bloc that serves more than 500 million people.

CNET reported that Christian Engström, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Pirate Party, said in his blog that the "devil is in the detail,” pointing to wording in an older resolution from 1997 that could lead to "statutory measures to prevent any form of pornography in the media."

The new report says, “17. Calls on the EU and its member states to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 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.”

It’s unclear however just how the report defines “in the media,” especially concerning ISPs. “The wording suggests that while internet service providers (ISPs) may not be forced to comply with the principles of the report, it could give these companies 'policing rights' over their customers, similar to the 'six-strike' rule in the U.S. relating to online piracy,” CNET explained.

What’s also worrisome is that the resolution could clamp down on the press, particularly in suggestive advertising.

“19. Calls on the member states to establish independent regulation bodies with the aim of controlling the media and advertising industry and a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation [sic] of girls,” the report reads in part.

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