European Parliament votes on call for porn ban

Opponents call the motion a "horrendous attack on our fundamental freedoms of speech and expression"

The European Parliament will vote next week on a motion which could lead to a blanket ban on internet porn.

The motion facing MEPs calls for a "ban on all forms of pornography," including in the "digital field," and aims at "eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU," marking International Women's Day.

Libertarian Swedish MEPs from the Pirate Party spotted the call for a ban in the bill's small print. The bill would not be legally binding.

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

According to the Daily Telegraph, Dutch MEP Kartika Liotard seeks "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 in the "digital field".

The MEPs are also demanding state sex censors be given "a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation of girls".

Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, which campaigns for internet freedom, says 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 on his blog.

"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."

Iceland is currently debating proposals to censor the internet, blocking online porn, citing fears of damaging children and women.

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