Pornography may soon be history in Europe
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A report is set to be voted on in the European Union parliament on March 12 that could lay the groundwork for laws banning pornography across all media.
If the proposal is approved, the Internet will also be restricted and could potentially restrict civil liberties, free speech advocates claim.
According to the Huffington Post, the broader aim of the sweeping proposal, which was introduced by left-leaning parliamentarian Kartika Liotard of the Netherlands, is to foster gender equality in the EU by combating gender stereotypes on many fronts.
To that end, the proposal recommended a 'ban on all forms of pornography in the media,' including what it calls 'the digital field'.
It has also called for the establishment of regulatory agencies with 'a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation of girls'.
Although the vote on the report is not legally binding, if passed, the proposal could end up influencing EU law.
According to the report, the proposal if approved could give companies 'policing rights' over their customers, similar to the 'six-strike' rule in the U.S. relating to online piracy.
In February, an Icelandic politician's proposed ban on Internet pornography was roundly criticized by free speech advocates.
Iceland Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, who is drafting the legislation, maintained that the larger social problems he claims porn causes outweigh concerns about free speech.
Printed pornography and strip clubs are already banned in Iceland, the report said.
Last week, an international group of free speech campaigners, activists and academics issued an open letter to Ogmundur condemning the proposed online pornography ban, it added.