The Irish Communications Minister Richard Bruton has scrapped plans to introduce restrictions on access to porn in a new online safety bill, saying they are not a priority.
The Government said in June it would consider following a UK plan to block pornographic material until an internet user proves they are over 18. However, the British block has run into administrative problems and been delayed until later this
Bruton said such a measure in Ireland is not a priority in the Online Safety Bill, a draft of which he said would be published before the end of the year.
It's not the top priority. We want to do what we committed to do, we want to have the codes of practice, he said at the Fine Gael parliamentary party think-in. We want to have the online commissioner - those are the priorities we are committed
An online safety commissioner will have the power to enforce the online safety code and may in some cases be able to force social media companies to remove or restrict access. The commissioner will have responsibility for ensuring that large
digital media companies play their part in ensuring the code is complied with. It will also be regularly reviewed and updated.
Bruton's bill will allow for a more comprehensive complaint procedure for users and alert the commissioner to any alleged dereliction of duty. The Government has been looking at Australia's pursuit of improved internet safety.
The Council of Europe is an organisation which aims to uphold human rights across Europe (beyond the EU and reaching as far as Russia). The European Court of Human Rights was established under the auspices of the Council of Europe.
The Council has recently been considering the issue of sexism being everywhere and has penned a long list of recommendations that are taken straight out of the uncompromising language of extreme feminism. The council explains in a press release:
New Council of Europe action against sexism
In March 2019, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted a new Recommendation on Preventing and Combating Sexism. Not only does this text contain the first ever internationally agreed definition of sexism, but it also proposes a set of
concrete measures to combat this wide-spread phenomenon.
Sexism is present in all areas of life. From catcalls on the street, to women being ignored during work meetings, to boys being bombarded with aggressive role-models in video games. It is also there when comments are made about politicians on the
length of their skirts rather than their latest parliamentary report. When sexist behaviour accumulates, it can lead to an acceptance of discrimination and even violence.
Secretary General Thorbj°rn Jagland said that No-one should be discriminated against because of their sex. This is a basic principle which we are still far from respecting in practice. Through efforts to prevent and combat sexist behaviour, the
Council of Europe wants to help ensure a level playing field for women and men, boys and girls.
Sexism is harmful and lies at the root of gender inequality. It produces feelings of worthlessness, self-censorship, changes in behaviour, and a deterioration in health. Sexism affects women and girls disproportionately. Some groups of women,
such as politicians, journalists, women's human rights defenders, or young women, may be particularly vulnerable to acts of sexism. But it can also affect men and boys, when they don't conform to stereotyped gender roles. Moreover, the impact of
sexism can be worse for some women and men due to ethnicity, age, disability, social origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or other factors.
To address these issues and encourage the full implementation of the Recommendation, the Council of Europe has just launched a video and action page under the hashtag #stopsexism and the slogan See it. Name it. Stop it. The aim is to help the
wider public identify acts of sexism and take a stand against them.
Blasphemy was quietly abolished in Greece on 1 July 2019 under changes to the country's criminal code, in a huge step forward for the global campaign to end harsh blasphemy laws.
According to the Humanist Union of Greece, the crime of blasphemy will be dropped from the country's Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures from 1 July 2019. The news was welcomed by the Humanist Union of Greece after it was published
on a Greek news site.
Greece's blasphemy law was among the most restrictive in Europe, and has actively been used to prosecute people for often satirical posts deemed to insult religion. In a high-profile blasphemy case in Greece in 2012, blogger Filippos Loizos used
a play on words to portray a revered Greek Orthodox monk as a traditional pasta-based dish. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison after being found guilty of blasphemy. His conviction was later overthrown on appeal.
Greece is the 8th country to repeal its blasphemy law since 2015.
US social media companies have delayed signing a pledge which aims to combat what the French government deems to be online hate speech. The pledge pushes online service providers to commit to more aggressive censorship and moderation of content
on their platforms.
Europe 1 radio is reporting that President Trump pressured US social media companies to delay signing the pledge saying that France was bullying the companies to join.
The pledge is titled Charter for an Open, Free, and Safe Internet . It expands on the commitments made by social media companies in the immediate aftermath of the New Zealand mosque massacre. Social media companies took down a live stream
of the killings and the killer, Brenton Tarrent's manifesto. New Zealand ISPs blocked websites until such material was removed.
The pledge will widen the scope of the commitments from online service providers related to:
Taking down content
Providing support for victims
France wanted US social media companies to sign this pledge on August 23. However, according to France's junior minister for the digital industry CÚdric O, the signing has been delayed until August 27.
A senior Trump administration official said that the White House is still evaluating the pledge and that the industry wants to water down the initiative.
Commentators suggest that background to the delay may be related to France's plans to introduce a new tax for US social media companies.