Editorial: Internet pornography: never again – David Cameron has taken a keen interest in protecting children from exposure to internet porn but seems reluctant to lead

Internet pornography is usually abusive and often violent. Mark Bridger, convicted yesterday of the murder of April Jones, had compiled a store of it. Pornography is easily and freely accessible, and at most requires only a credit card. The link between such material and violence, most commonly against women and children, is not quite beyond dispute – occasional studies claim there is, as one headline had it, a sunny side to smut. But there is strong evidence that at the very least it is addictive, can normalise violence, and at the same time diminishes sympathy for its victims. It is a kind of incitement to hate. It should be banned. But that is easier to say than to do.Part of the problem is that internet porn is a global business. Dealing with it requires global, or at least wide, support. An attempt by the European parliament earlier this year to insert a porn ban into equal rights legislation was brought down by Dutch members of the Pirate party in the name of freedom. In the UK, regulations about internet safety are occasionally enforced – as Playboy learned to its cost recently when Ofcom found its child safety protocols inadequate – but imposing a general ban has so far been rejected. There are some good reasons for care, including the risk of cutting off access to respectable sites dealing with sexual health or rape support. Iceland’s last government, which had already radically tightened the laws on paying for sex, including treating sex workers as victims and prosecuting their clients, had intended to legislate – but lost power in April. The new centre-right government may yet pursue the proposal.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/internet-pornography-never-again-editorial

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