EU porn ban voted down amid censorship concerns

8679guest eu porn ban EU porn ban voted down amid censorship concerns

Members of the European Parliament voted 368-159 in favor ofpassing a report titled “Eliminating gender stereotypes in theEU.”The rejection of a controversial “porn ban” proposal hasseemingly become a major victory for online freedom. But the resultwas “a little bit unclear,” Christian Engstrom, MEP withSweden’s Pirate Party, told RT.“The European Parliament said no to turning Internet serviceproviders into porn police, and they said no to setting upauthorities to regulate media,” Engstrom explained, adding,though, that the European Parliament still expresses support for anolder resolution to ban pornography.The particular clause has been dropped from the text of the newresolution, but it still contains references to an earlier resolution passed by the parliament in1997 which calls for “statutory measures to prevent any form ofpornography in the media and in advertising.” Although theresolution is not legally binding, it can be used as a basis toform legislation.The “gender stereotypes” report was first introduced back inDecember 2012. The porn-blocking proposals were suggested by MEPfor the Dutch Socialist Party Kartika Tamara Liotard, and wentmostly unnoticed until some of the MEPs sounded the alarm in Marchcalling on citizens to protest the measure.The controversy further escalated after hundreds of e-mails sentto MEPs about the vote were blocked.Engstrom was one of the MEPs outraged by the interference by theEuropean Parliament’s IT department to filter politicians’mail.“I wrote a letter to the president of the EuropeanParliament, complaining and saying that I find it completelyunacceptable, if the Parliament’s IT support department suddenlydecides to block communication from my voters,” Engstrom toldRT.“My job as an elected parliamentarian is to be in contactwith citizens and voters,” he added. “I find it unacceptablethat the Parliament blocks that.”Similar tactics to shield MEPs from the voice of the people wereused during the worldwide protest against the Antipiracy TradeAgreement (ACTA) which is seen as a direct attack on privacy andfreedom on the Internet.Although ACTA was rejected by most of the European Parliament,activists are concerned that legislators are still looking foralternative routes to impose censorship under the guise ofcopyright protection or protecting audiences from harmfulinformation.“In general we see this trend with many different actorswanting to censor the Internet, wanting to control theInternet,” Engstrom said. “So what we’re doing is trying todefend the freedom of the Internet, because we believe it isabsolutely essential in a free and open society to have a freeInternet, without censorship and without a lot ofsurveillance.”Meanwhile, at the level of member states EU legislators are alsomulling the idea of banning pornography. Last December the UKbecame the first country to try and block access to all pornographywebsites. The idea however was rejected over the lack of publicsupport.Later in February, Icelandic legislators revealed that they arelooking for the best technical ways to “tackle porn on theInternet,” raising concerns that Iceland’s online pornographycensorship scheme would be implemented all over the EU.

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EU porn ban voted down amid censorship concerns


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