Iceland's minister of interior, Ögmundur Jónasson, is backing a full online pornography ban for Iceland, which would be supported by an 'anti-shield' preventing internet users from accessing certain sites.
The minister's assistant, Halla Gunnarsdóttir, is even more misguided. She claimed in an interview that if we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the internet. It is obvious that she is unaware how the internet works;
"walls" around it won't work unless you want to create your own internet, very much like they are doing in Iran.
Thankfully, the possibility that this bill will pass through the parliament is near zero. The parliamentary committee tasked with discussing the censorship proposal, which I am part of, is looking into alternative ways to help parents to protect their
children from online porn, mainly through free porn-filter software and educational means -- as suggested by a recent report produced by Unicef in Iceland.
Introducing censorship without compromising freedom of expression and speech is like trying to mix oil and water: it is impossible. I know my fellow MPs can often turn strange and dangerous laws into reality, but this won't be one of them.
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Update: Perhaps not all porn
17th February 2013. See article
Hildur Fjo'la Antonsdo'ttir, a 'gender specialist' at Iceland University, said:
This initiative is about narrowing the definition of porn so it does not include all sexually explicit material but rather material that can be described as portraying sexual activity in a violent or hateful way.
Update: The clearest description yet of Iceland's proposed censorship of internet porn
27th February 2013. See article
Halla Gunnarsdóttir is political adviser to the minister of the interior in Iceland. She is a former journalist and has an MA in international relations. She writes:
Pornography can reach children in different ways, but it is evident that the probability of a child becoming an adult without seeing porn is close to zero. This is a matter of concern since mainstream internet porn is becoming increasingly violent and
brutal. It does not simply consist of images of naked bodies, or of people having sex but of hardcore violence framed within the context of sex. Young women are usually referred to as sluts, whores, bitches etc, and represented as submissive. Men,
meanwhile, often act in a dominant, degrading and violent way towards them. A fairly typical example could include a mouth-penetration, performed to produce choking, crying or even vomiting. The violent misogyny produced by the porn industry has become
our children's main resource for learning what sex is about, which is a cause of serious concern.
In response to the above-mentioned expert concerns, three ministries -- the ministry of the interior, the ministry of education, science and culture and the ministry of welfare -- called upon a wide range of professionals to discuss and analyse the
societal effects of violent pornography and to contribute to the development of a comprehensive, holistic policy. Proposals emerging from this process are now being implemented under the auspices of the three ministries. These include increased emphasis
on violence prevention, revision of sex education and the forming of a comprehensive policy on sexual health. The proposals on legal amendments -- now under consideration at the ministry of the interior -- are, however, the ones that have received the
Firstly, a bill is being prepared with the aim of narrowing the legal definition of pornography -- the distribution of which is already illegal -- to encompass only violent and degrading sexual material. The goal is to make the important distinction
between sex, on the one hand, and violence, on the other. This approach is based on the Norwegian penal code.
Secondly, a committee, headed by the ministry, is now exploring how the law can be implemented. The key question pertains to the possibility of placing restrictions on online distribution of violent and degrading pornography in Iceland. Under discussion
are both technical solutions and legal and procedural measures.