Letter: Porn: nanny dithers

Sir: In the best traditions of British hand-wringing and awkwardness, as well as those of our prim and proper nanny state, the question of where to draw the line when it comes to sexually explicit material still remains unanswered (reports, 13 August).

Now that international travel is cheap and easy, and with the Internet making a mockery of laws on "decency" the world over, a good look at our own antediluvian legislation is urgently needed.

Denmark, a sophisticated, decent, well-educated country, prohibited sexually explicit material in much the same way that Britain does now, until 1967, when it abolished its censorship laws. Today Denmark, hardly noted for sexual violence and mayhem, is one of the most civilised countries in the world, as it was in 1966.

It is said that we live in a free country. We are indeed free to watch images of people being killed and hurt in any number of revolting ways, (which thankfully, most of us have nothing to do with in real life) and yet we are forbidden to watch images of people engaging in consenting sex (which most of us are personally very familiar with).

No one is suggesting that hard-core porn should be compulsory viewing, but legislating against it on the basis of bad taste is a terrible solution; it only encourages a thriving black market and disrespect for the rule of law. If we want people to behave like responsible adults, then we need to treat them accordingly - let them choose.

ROBIN PRIOR

Southall,

Middlesex

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