The proposed ban on internet pornography in Iceland has garnered attention by the world’s media.
The Guardian is among the media to cover the issue. An article published on guardian.co.uk on Saturday reads: “Small, volcanic, with a proud Viking heritage and run by an openly gay prime minister, Iceland is now considering becoming the first democracy in the western world to try to ban online pornography.”
As reported, Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson proposed a ban on the distribution of online pornography. The minister set up a working group to look into how the police could block pornographic content and the results are currently being reviewed.
The proposal has sparked heated debate in Iceland about freedom and censorship.
Adviser to Ögmundur, Halla Gunnarsdóttir, emphasized that the proposed ban is about equality and not censorship. “We are a progressive, liberal society when it comes to nudity, to sexual relations, so our approach is not anti-sex but anti-violence. This is about children and gender equality, not about limiting free speech.”
“Research shows that the average age of children who see online porn is 11 in Iceland and we are concerned about that and about the increasingly violent nature of what they are exposed to,” she added.
Þröstur Jónasson at the Association of Digital Freedom in Iceland has branded the proposal unfeasible as he says people who want to access such material will always find a way.
Þröstur argues that ensuring that internet services block pornography would require that all content goes through a filter, meaning that ultimately someone will have the role of deciding what is ok and what is not.
In a column published on guardian.co.uk on Friday, Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir harshly criticizes the proposal, claiming that the possibility that the bill is passed through parliament is “close to zero.”
The law banning the import, publication and distribution of pornography in Iceland was written before the advent of online pornography.