Icelandic Government Wants To Ban Some Internet Porn

Predictably, the suggestion of a state-imposed "porn shield" has alarmed free-speech activists, who say the move undermines the country's liberal Scandinavian image.

What's the Latest Development?


Iceland's interior ministry is looking at ways to prevent access to violent and degrading sexual imagery online, including a possible state-imposed filtering system that has alarmed Internet freedom advocates like Smari McCarthy of the International Modern Media Institute. She cites consequences ranging from "slowing down the internet to blocking content that is not meant to be blocked to just generally opening up a whole can of worms regarding human rights issues, access to information and freedom of expression."

What's the Big Idea?

While it's a long way from emulating authoritarian China and Iran, Iceland doesn't neatly fit into the traditional mold of liberal Scandinavia. Strip clubs have been illegal since 2010, and pornography has technically been banned for decades longer. However, because the term was never fully defined, the ban has never been enforced. Political adviser Halla Gunnarsdottir says a clarification of the term is simply meant to uphold the existing law: "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?" As it stands, the unpopular government doesn't have much time left to institute changes, since elections are scheduled for this April.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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