Iceland May Become First Western State To Ban Online Porn

on February 13 2013 1:25 PM
  • Reykjavik
    Indeed, a study by the Reykjavik government suggested that exposure to pornography at an early age leads to the kind of trauma witnessed on those who had actually been physically or sexually abused. Wiki Commons
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    Iceland may become the first Western nation to block online pornography in a radical overhaul of the Internet that may mimic the way China filters offensive or questionable content from the worldwide Web. Wiki Commons
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Iceland may become the first Western nation to block online pornography in a radical overhaul of the Internet that may mimic the way China filters offensive or questionable content from the worldwide Web.

The Icelandic government cited the lasting damaging effects of porn on women and children.

The proposed legislation was drafted by Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, who wants to prevent youths for accessing smutty images and videos through computers, game consoles and smartphones.

"We have to be able to discuss a ban on violent pornography, which we all agree has a very harmful effect on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime," he said.

Indeed, a study by the Reykjavik government suggested that exposure to pornography at an early age leads to the kind of trauma witnessed on those who had actually been physically or sexually abused. Studies also indicated that the extremely violent nature of porn freely available on the Web may also be impacting the incidence and severity of rape cases.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Iceland already has laws in the books that forbid the publication and distribution of pornography, although these statutes have yet to be updated to cover the Internet.

"There is a strong consensus building in Iceland,” Halla Gunnarsdottir, a political adviser to Jonasson, told the Daily Mail newspaper.

“We have so many experts from educationalists to the police and those who work with children behind this that this has become much broader than party politics. At the moment, we are looking at the best technical ways to achieve this. But surely if we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the Internet."

Gunnarsdottir stressed that the measures were not “anti-sex.”

“[The proposal] is anti-violence, because young children are seeing porn and acting it out,” she said. “That is where we draw the line. This [pornographic] material is blurring the boundaries for young people about what is right and wrong. Parents are not the only ones responsible for protecting our young people. They cannot be with their children all the time, and the porn industry actively tries to seek children out. Children also no longer use computers just in their homes. They access the Internet in many places, in many ways and on smartphones. We say protecting our children is a task for the whole society.”

The proposals could be passed as early as this year.

Gail Dines, an anti-pornography activist and women’s studies professor at Wheelock College in Boston, Mass., praised the Reykjavik government’s move.

"Iceland is taking a very progressive approach that no other democratic country has tried," she told the Daily Mail. "It is looking at pornography from a new position -- from the perspective of the harm it does to the women who appear in it and as a violation of their civil rights."

Iceland has previously been successful in eliminating other forms of vice.

The Daily Mail reported that two years ago the Icelandic parliament, under female Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, removed all strip bars and clubs from the country, citing they were harmful to society and violated the civil rights of women who were employed there.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has loudly lamented the nature of extreme and violent porn available on the Internet, may be looking closely at developments in Iceland, the Mail noted.

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