Banning Porn: Should we do it?

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A tiny island of only 320,000 people, Iceland has been grabbing international headlines with the governement’s latest proposal to ban pornography, both in print and online. Technically, pornography is already banned here, though print editions of Playboy and Penthouse can be purchased in book stores, with more hard-core material available in sex shops.

What is being defined by this new proposal would be violent or degrading content that could pose a harm to children.

This isn’t the first time a country has debated the issue of pornography, how accessible it should be, if it’s harmful, and whether or not the government has a responsibility to protect its children. Known for being a center for Scandinavian free-speech whose social experiments often have a global impact, Iceland’s decision in this could have ripple effects far beyond it’s own borders.

Does the right to free speech trump a child’s right to be protected?

Or as one Icelandic political advisor asked,“Is it freedom of speech to be able to reach children with very hardcore, brutal material? Is that the freedom of speech we want to protect?”

One argument in favor of little to no restraints on pornography is that it’s merely another expression of art. Yet unlike the Van Gogh hanging in your nearby museum, pornography tends to garner quite a bit more attention and controversy. Is it because we instinctively sense that there’s more to pornography than just naked bodies engaged in a human activity?

Is there anything harmful that warrants our intervention, not just for children but possibly adults?

I’ll give my take on that question next week, but I’d like first to hear from you.

What kind of danger or risk might there be when it comes to viewing pornography? Is Iceland’s attempt to ban violent or degrading content an overeach or bold step in protecting its youngest citizens?

Image via Photobucket