Bill also calls for controlling the media to prevent sexualization

If you live in the EU, getting your pornographic fix may soon get harder -- a lot harder.

I. EU Parliament to Vote on Whether Porn is Sexist

The EU is set to vote this week on a proposal dubbed "Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU".  The proposal is merely an initiative report, designed to convey the EU's intentions.  However, it could likely form the basis of future legislation, if ratified.

The report, which frames itself as an equal rights measure of sorts, quickly veers into censorship mode noting that there is an "increasingly noticeable show provocatively dressed women, in sexual poses."  The bill goes on to suggest if the naughty pornography isn't whipped into submission now, it may be too late, commenting, "[Pornography is] slipping into our everyday lives as an evermore universally accepted, often idealized, cultural element."

EU flags
[Image Source: AFP]

The report calls for a number of actions.  Among them:

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.

The term "media" is rather ambiguous, but many experts believe it could be applied to a blanket ban on pornographic magazines, pornographic premium television programming, and the most popular form of pornography -- online pornography.

Porn hurts
The EU has become the latest governing body to consider banning pornography.
[Image Source: Kelly Manning Photography]

The report also indicates that it plans to explicitly handcuff service providers and prevent them from posting such content, writing:

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;

II. Opponents Point to Bill Gagging Media, Hurting Freedoms

In a blog, Christian Engström, member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Pirate Party, posted an angrily worded blog voicing his frustration at the measure that he says could "prevent any form of pornography in the media."

The bill is a more pervasive revamp of a 1997 resolution, which failed to stop pornography from further penetrating the European market.

Woman on Computer
The Pirate Party is fighting to protect citizens' "right to porn". [Image Source: Uncoach]

One more scary provision of the bill -- it suggests that members states seize control of their local media, writing:

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;

Many in Europe feel that there are holes in many member states' codes of law regarding sexual harassment in the workplace or voyeuristic photojournalism. But the tough question is whether those shortcomings are worth binding Europeans' wrists with a harsh measure that could prevent virtually all forms of adult entertainment.

In the U.S. serious efforts to ban porn have largely proven impotent.  While such measures have stalled it should be noted that the Republican Party's platform does call for a ban on adult entertainment.  A similar effort in the UK was also unable to finish.

Sources: Europa, Christian Engström/Pirate Party

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