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European Parliament Bill calls for a ban on all pornography

When the likes of the Daily Mail or UKIP go looking for absurdly overweening attempts by Europe to morally police the populations of independent countries, this is the kind of thing they should be flagging up but obviously never would. Yes – pornography is not – forgive me – a ‘hot button’ issue for the middle classes, but this kind of federalist legislation is precisely the sort of thing they are always threatening us with.

Next Tuesday's European Parliament resolution "on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU", to mark international women's day, after Swedish MEPs from the Pirate Party noticed moves aimed at a ban on pornography buried within it.

While not legally binding in its’ current form, it raises all kinds of questions about the nature of European democracy.

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

Kartika Liotard, a Dutch MEP, is 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", including measures in the "digital field".

The MEPs backing the call are also pushing for 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 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

"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."

As news of the ban emerged it turned out that thousands of emails from civil liberties campaigners had been blocked by the European Parliament, again calling into question the opaque nature of the organisation.

"This is an absolute disgrace, in my opinion. A parliament that views input from citizens on a current issue as spam, has very little democratic legitimacy in my opinion," said Christian Engstrom, a Pirate Party MEP.

Iceland is currently debating a proposed law that would make it the first Western democracy to attempt censorship of the internet by blocking online pornography.

Whatever your views on pornography, our rights to access it or whether it actually reduces crimes against women or increases it, surely this is not the correct forum to have that debate.

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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