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The European Parliament (Mostly) Said No To A Porn Ban

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Freedom of Speech – Christian Engström

Freedom of Speech – Christian Engström

The European parliament’s vote earlier this week on a resolution that asked for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media was not entirely easy to interpret, but the most reasonable political interpretation is to say that the parliament said No to a ban on porn.

But let’s take a closer look at the different articles that the parliament voted on.

First, Article 14:

14. Points out that a policy to eliminate stereotypes in the media will of necessity involve action in the digital field; considers that this requires the launching of initiatives coordinated at EU level with a view to developing a genuine culture of equality on the internet; calls on the Commission to draw up in partnership with the parties concerned a charter to which all internet operators will be invited to adhere;

The parliament rejected this article completely, which is very good. If it had not, it would have called for turning the internet service providers into some kind of private ”porn police”, very much along the same lines as the ACTA treaty that wanted to turn them into a private file sharing police.

The rejection of this article was a clear and very important victory for free speech and information freedom.

Then, Article 19:

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 of girls;

This article asked member states to establish regulation bodies with the aim of controlling the media and a mandate to impose sanctions on companies and individuals. That kind of mechanism has no place in a democratic society.

The rejection of this article as well was another clear victory for freedom of speech.

Finally, Article 17:

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

Here, the parliament rejected the second half of the article with the explicit call for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media, but kept the first part with the indirect reference to the resolution from 1997.

This is where it gets tricky and a bit ambiguous.

On the one hand, the parliament rejected the direct call for a ban. So far, so good. The parliament no longer highlights that particular article in the old resolution. If the highlighting had remained, it would have been clear that the parliament did in fact want a ban on porn in media, but since it was taken away,

But on the other hand, Article 5 of the 1997 resolution still contains a call for ”statutory measures to prevent any form of pornography in the media”, and the parliament expressed that it wanted that resolution implemented, without mentioning any exceptions.

So how should we interpret this?

The reasonable political interpretation is that the parliament does not want to ban pornography on the internet or in the media.

If this had been a legislative report, it would have been correct to say that the parliament wanted to ban porn in magazines, TV and DVDs. Legal texts are quite similar to computer code (although courts are quite different from computers), so in that case an indirect reference would be just as strong as a direct mention of the porn ban.

But this is a political resolution where the parliament just expresses an opinion, and then it has to be read in a different way. From a political perspective, the important thing is that the parliament actively removed the wording ”a ban on all forms of pornography in the media” (and remove all the sharp proposals on how to enforce it). If the majority had in fact been in favor of a ban, it would have had no reason to do this. Since it did, the only reasonable conclusion is that the majority of members didn’t want a ban.

This is a victory, and that’s what counts in the political landscape in Brussels.

Thank you, all activists who contributed by sending emails to MEPs or in other ways!

This article was originally published on MEP Engström’s blog.

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About The Author: Christian Engström

Christian Engström is a Member of European Parliament (MEP) for the Swedish Pirate Party. He has previously been an activist in FFII in the fight against software patents, and has a background as an entrepreneur and a coder.

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17

  1. 1
    Anonymous

    the problem now is, as is the case with so many proposals when defeated in their entirety, how long before they are brought back, a bit at a time, as is the case in the USA with SOPA? that bill was defeated but is coming back a bit at a time. ACTA was defeated but is coming back a bit at a time. even the EUCHR is a joke, considering they have just put profits as more important than the interference with freedom to share, freedom of speech etc

  2. 2
    Alexia Death

    Sexualization, objectification and unrealistic depiction in adveratizing/media are not only concerns for women/girls… It’s happening to men as well. Sex tourism and trafficing affects both genders too… I wish such legal matters would at least aspire to be gender neutral…

  3. [...] (UPDATE: It would seem that the most correct interpretation of the decision is that the parliament decided to not ban pornography, despite voting in favor of a bill that called for enforcement on exactly such a ban. These things are not always clear-cut, to say the least, even for us who work with it daily. See the followup article.) [...]

  4. [...] at Falkvinge on Infopolicy Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogle +1DiggRedditMerStumbleUponPinterestTumblrLinkedInE-postSkriv [...]

  5. [...] SOURCE: FALKVINGE Share this:TwitterFacebookRedditDiggGoogle +1StumbleUponLike this:Like Loading… Categories: European Union, Science & Technology, Surveillance, The Web Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback [...]

  6. 3
    Anonymous

    with this disaster safely tucked out of sight, at least for a little while until it comes back bit by bit as all bills do when certain bribed or unthinking of the consequences idiots or both decide to re-introduce them, the next thing that needs watching is the new trade bill being discussed between the USA and the EU. funny how the USA, typically, is the one calling the shots even now, when it is deciding, without consultation with the EU, on which other countries can join the talks. they have already been approached by Mexico and now have stated that they want Turkey included. i want to know why they are having the say and also why they want turkey in? what has Turkey got that the USA wants so badly? worrying!!

    • 3.1
      Anon

      That should be blatantly obvious by now, for the reason of having an ally in the mid east, bordering Iran, by which their ally would presumably permit supply runs through their friendly territory, when they decide it’s Go Time with Iran.

      it’s sickening

  7. ewVjiISp…

    The European Parliament (Mostly) Said No To A Porn Ban – Falkvinge on Infopolicy…

  8. 5
    Justin Biebel

    The Freemason brotherhood does not like improper behavior like naked bodies. As they gain more control more restrictions will be seen. “Gay propaganda” will become illegal too eventually, like in Russia where this brotherhood conquered enough power. Do not underestimate these people.

  9. [...] (UPDATE: It would seem that the most correct interpretation of the decision is that the parliament decided to not ban pornography, despite voting in favor of a bill that called for enforcement on exactly such a ban. These things are not always clear-cut, to say the least, even for us who work with it daily. See the followup article.) [...]

  10. 6
    Dodo

    When is the EU voting on banning oral sex and masturbation?

    What the hell is happening to freedom, common sense? No, dear christians, feminists and other ‘know-all’s, not everybody thinks that nudity and natural behavior is bad, wrong, dirty, ugly, dangerous. Well yes, maybe dangerous to your twisted world view. Grow up.

  11. 7

    I am really very happy to find this particular site. I just wanted to say thank you for this huge read!! I absolutely enjoying every petite bit of it and I have you bookmarked to test out new substance you post.

  12. 8

    I feel the admin of this web page is genuinely functioning tough for his web page, for the cause that right here just about every data is quality based stuff.

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About The Author

Christian Engström is a Member of European Parliament (MEP) for the Swedish Pirate Party. He has previously been an activist in FFII in the fight against software patents, and has a background as an entrepreneur and a coder.

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