EU wants to "ban pornography" (and ignores protests) - a.k.a. censorship, third attempt

So the EU has introduced a bill that means to ban pornography and "gender stereotypes" from media. While you can think about that what you will, the real tragedy here is that the EU parliament is now redirecting all voter e-mails criticizing the move to their spam filter. What kind of democracy is this?

For the record, I can think of a country that banned pornography. It's rather large on the map and located in East Asia. Let's just say their human rights record is not exactly sparkly clean.

What do you think?

Sources:
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/382792/Now-EU-wants-to-regulate-the-internet-and-ban-pornography

http://www.realclearworld.com/blog/2013/03/the_european_union_wants_to_ban_porn_next_week.html

http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/is-europe-trying-to-ban-pornography/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/european-porn-ban-proposal-regulate-internet-pornography-media_n_2828633.html

http://m.ibtimes.co.uk/european-pornography-ban-protest-silenced-spam-filter-443984.html

http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/european-parliament-blocks-emails-containing-the-word-gender-on-internationa-womens-day/

Egypt also bans porno.

I have ways of getting around that, so I'm not concerned about this law at all.

Monsterfurby:

For the record, I can think of a country that banned pornography. It's rather large on the map and located in East Asia. Let's just say their human rights record is not exactly sparkly clean.

What do you think?

I can think of another one that's much higher on the human rights score and is located in the north Atlantic.

Still, I think we had a thread about this, and we kind of agreed that there's no way an outright ban on porn is getting through in EU...because, really.

Well, as the EU is unlikely to dare take on all porn, presumably they'll amend the wording so it'll be limited to advertisement.

...which does raise two questions though: How are pornographic products to be advertised? And: How did the EU get the idea that it was still in control of advertisement in the internet age, where websites and ad servers can be placed anywhere?

As was pointed out in the other thread: You pretty much have to read this with your conspiracy goggles and your tinfoil hat on for the proposed resolution to seem even remotely as if it is an attempt to ban porn. It isn't exactly clearly worded (what legal text has ever been?), but as far as bureaucratic language go it is pretty easy to read it and realize it isn't advocating a ban of porn.

Imperator_DK:

...which does raise two questions though: How are pornographic products to be advertised?

I'm under the impression that porn is the one thing that needs no separate advertising, or that its mere existance is advertisement enough, actually.

And: How did the EU get the idea that it was still in control of advertisement in the internet age, where websites and ad servers can be placed anywhere?

Sanity slippage, mostly. To quote one guy from the SOPA debate, "Get some nerds in here, I have no clue what we're even talking about". He seemed to be a reasonable one there.

Imperator_DK:
Well, as the EU is unlikely to dare take on all porn, presumably they'll amend the wording so it'll be limited to advertisement.

While I would be against such a ban on pornographic advertisement on principle, I don't think I'd mind it much if they could pull it off. Such advertisements usually are just really awkward anyway.

Vegosiux:
...
I'm under the impression that porn is the one thing that needs no separate advertising, or that its mere existance is advertisement enough, actually.

How is a porn shop going to show the DVD covers of pornographic movies on its website, if advertisement - a term which include showing the goods - isn't allowed to show pornography?

Gethsemani:
...
It isn't exactly clearly worded (what legal text has ever been?), but as far as bureaucratic language go it is pretty easy to read it and realize it isn't advocating a ban of porn.

Legal texts are far more carefully worded than pretty much any other pieces of text you'll find, since terminological accuracy and as few interpretations as possible is the ideal of them. You can bet this motion being worded in a overly broad manner was done quite deliberately. Professionals on that level aren't so incompetent that they can't unambiguously specify whether or not something applies only to advertisement in all forms of media, or to all forms of content in media.

The EU is being lobbied by all sorts of groups on all sorts of issues, most of whom are more knowledgeable and resourceful within the given issue than it itself is. That they more or less dictate the texts voted on is not too uncommon. Combined with its chronic shortage of democratic legitimacy, and it binding immensely different nations in immensely different situations to the same monetary policy through the Euro, this really does make one question the institution as a whole (or rather all the federalist stuff it's built on top of its old common market core, which brought peace and stability to Europe).

Revnak:
...
While I would be against such a ban on pornographic advertisement on principle, I don't think I'd mind it much if they could pull it off. Such advertisements usually are just really awkward anyway.

It doesn't sound particularly principled to not mind it happening. I very much mind bans on all sorts of things I have no interest in, or even find annoying or offensive. Even if such bans would benefit developments I'd otherwise find desirable... had they come only about through choice.

I don't think I've seen pornographic advertisement outside of porn sites either, where they'd obviously pose little distraction. Websites will usually display ads related to their content, unless targeted advertising related to one's browsing history are enabled (...and you've been browsing something that'd get all those girls into the banner ads).

Imperator_DK:

Revnak:
...
While I would be against such a ban on pornographic advertisement on principle, I don't think I'd mind it much if they could pull it off. Such advertisements usually are just really awkward anyway.

It doesn't sound particularly principled to not mind it happening. I very much mind bans on all sorts of things I have no interest in, or even find annoying or offensive. Even if such bans would benefit developments I'd otherwise find desirable... had they come only about through choice.

I don't think I've seen pornographic advertisement outside of porn sites either, where they'd obviously pose little distraction. Websites will usually display ads related to their content, unless targeted advertising related to one's browsing history are enabled (...and you've been browsing something that'd get all those girls into the banner ads).

What I'm saying is I'm against the ban as I am a proponent of the very freest of speech, but that I honestly don't care that much. I probably should, but whatever.

And I have seen such ads on a number of sites that have nothing to do with porn. And even on porn sites they bother me since they're usually a picture of an erect penis advertising some bullshit penis growth method. And my browsing history is absolutely irrelevant!

And this is why I hate the idea of the EU. Where basically a very small number of people decide on the fate of dozens of countries. Cultures, way of thinking, social groups, you name it are all so different per country that it's impossible to make laws that make everyone happy. This is one example where a law would even make most (if not all) countries UNhappy.

And that's not even taking into account how corrupt the EU is. It's definitely not a democracy any more at least. Heck, ACTA (our CISPA) was only cancelled because tens of thousands of people actively went onto the streets to protest. Not to mention a few larger internet companies lobbying against it. The bill had mostly been discussed in secret, no input from the people at all if it had been up to them.

There's a simple reason it's hard to find a respectable media view of this story: it's bollocks.

Follow the stories to sources, and they all essentially boil down to the opinions of a tiny group of people - if not pretty much just one (some Swedish guy). More reputable media filters out essentially meaningless stories, leaving mostly just two-bit net operations with low standards and the odd older media with an angle (i.e. hating the EU).

One can even read with some amusement the HuffPo piece. As probably the most reputable (certainly with pretensions to quality) source there - and that's not saying a great deal - even their headline is tempered because of the unsafe nature of the story. The article then goes onto say it's not a ban on porn at all.

sanquin:

And that's not even taking into account how corrupt the EU is. It's definitely not a democracy any more at least. Heck, ACTA (our CISPA) was only cancelled because tens of thousands of people actively went onto the streets to protest. Not to mention a few larger internet companies lobbying against it. The bill had mostly been discussed in secret, no input from the people at all if it had been up to them.

Well, in the end I could argue that ACTA being pulled in the wake of widespread discontent across the continent is kind of like direct democracy at work. The problem isn't (entirely) that politicians are corrupt, the problem is that the people are apathetic. The moment the people get nudged to get off their collective asses resting comfortably in a warm place and stir up a ruckus, be it by civilian initiatives, petitions, protests, and do not give up just because the first try is likely unsuccessful, politics have to comply.

Vegosiux:
Well, in the end I could argue that ACTA being pulled in the wake of widespread discontent across the continent is kind of like direct democracy at work. The problem isn't (entirely) that politicians are corrupt, the problem is that the people are apathetic. The moment the people get nudged to get off their collective asses resting comfortably in a warm place and stir up a ruckus, be it by civilian initiatives, petitions, protests, and do not give up just because the first try is likely unsuccessful, politics have to comply.

You -vote- in a democracy. You -protest- when democracy fails.

sanquin:
And this is why I hate the idea of the EU. Where basically a very small number of people decide on the fate of dozens of countries. Cultures, way of thinking, social groups, you name it are all so different per country that it's impossible to make laws that make everyone happy. This is one example where a law would even make most (if not all) countries UNhappy.

And that's not even taking into account how corrupt the EU is. It's definitely not a democracy any more at least. Heck, ACTA (our CISPA) was only cancelled because tens of thousands of people actively went onto the streets to protest. Not to mention a few larger internet companies lobbying against it. The bill had mostly been discussed in secret, no input from the people at all if it had been up to them.

First paragraph implies EU is a barely-democratic entity.

Second paragraph gives a clear example of peaceful protest by the citizenry being effective.

Que?

The reason you "hate the idea of the EU" is because you see a story like this and uncritically accept it as accurate, with no regard for the political leaning of the sources(the Express? yowza), nor the media's preference for sensationalising non-stories in order to pander to demographics. This is a motion, not a law, not a treaty. It is a statement that at some point, they really should get around to maybe looking into doing something. Even if we assume that this motion eventually reaches the point of being seriously debated and potentially implemented, that's months, perhaps even years away, and you can bet the porn industry lobby isn't going to let anything with wording that broad get through without a massive fuss.

As for this censorship nonsense, the only source for that is the same Pirate Party member's blog who initially kicked up this fuss. Don't tell me for a second that you'd consider that a credible source if they weren't making claims that support your anti-EU rhetoric. Fuck, -I- don't consider one blog a credible basis for claiming the EU is censoring people, and I support most of the concepts the Pirate Party advocate for.

sanquin:

Vegosiux:
Well, in the end I could argue that ACTA being pulled in the wake of widespread discontent across the continent is kind of like direct democracy at work. The problem isn't (entirely) that politicians are corrupt, the problem is that the people are apathetic. The moment the people get nudged to get off their collective asses resting comfortably in a warm place and stir up a ruckus, be it by civilian initiatives, petitions, protests, and do not give up just because the first try is likely unsuccessful, politics have to comply.

You -vote- in a democracy. You -protest- when democracy fails.

And if you keep voting for the same dudes after they pissed you off, you just get what you deserve. Furthermore, we kind of need to clarify what "democracy failing" is even supposed to mean.

Besides, voting is only one of the democratic processes. Protests are another - they are another channel to relay the voice of the people, and another way for the people to put political pressure on anyone they belive needs to have political pressure put on them. Whoever believes their only voice comes from what number they circle on the ballot is either ignorant or deluding themselves.

If a coutnry is democratic, citizens always have the ability to voice discontent, propose alternatives and so on, but of course they need to get politically active to do so. And politically active means something more than voting every four years either along the party lines or along the lines of who looked best on TV in the couple months before the election.

Satire: Copy 3. Why is there more than one thread on this? Triple post or something?

Does this mean no more 50 shades of grey?

News in 20 years:

World Perversion Levels at all time Low

New Report from the Institute for Studies shows that fully consensual, missionary-style, safe, painless love-sex is dominant preference; urges couples to "spice things up" with avocados and belts to "keep human experience interesting enough to warrant procreation".

image
We must fight, say scientists.

A new report published by the institute for studies shows that sex has become intolerably dull.

According to the study, over 98% of requests to "Go on, just squeeze them a little" are rejected because she "has a headache."

Professor Liam Cruz of the Institute for Studies had this to say: "Sex just isn't interesting enough any more."

"When I was a younger man in more interesting times, I would regularly engage in salacious kink-fests."

"This one time I ate a whole buffet off my girlfriend's creamy inner thighs, it was proper good."

Henry Brubaker of the Liberty Organisation said, " I don't see why I shouldn't be able to strangle my wife in bed."

"What's the point of living a fulfilling life, revelling in the human experience, if you can't eat little rasperries and squirty cream off your wife's back while calling her a dirty slut?"

"Phwoar," he added.

Source = NY Times:
Article 17 of the report is a clause that, if eventually made into law,

If eventually made into law...

Yeah... ok...

Protest, clause will be removed... pornography will not be banned...

Keep Calm
Carry On

Even if pornography was banned, what effect would it actually have?

They can't even keep people of the pirate bay, and that's just one web site. How the hell are they going to stop people from watching porn?

You ban porn and the people will rise up. 1776 will commence again.

People always get so worked up when they hear that something might be "banned". But like all other illegal material, just because the law forbids it, it doesn't mean people will stop doing it. If porn really does get banned then just how does the EU propose on enforcing the ban? Do they really think they can destroy all pornographic material? Not to mention a large majority of the adult industry will suffer (if not outright die) and porno will become the new cocaine. I know that might sound silly but this whole thing sounds like it would create waaay more problems than fix any. Porn has been around too long for the EU to just come and 'ban'. I mean I wish we could do the same to tobacco, but again it wouldn't be worth it.

adamsaccount:
You ban porn and the people will rise up. 1776 will commence again.

No. This is Europe.

1792 will commence again.

Here is a question that just popped into my head.

What if the EU makes a law that is utterly unconstitutional within a member nation?

While the wording on many European "constitutional amendments" is often weird, if the country even has a constitution to begin with, some EU member's "law of the land" make it very clear that you can't ban pornography.

This is from Czech's constitution:

Article 17
(1) The freedom of expression and the right to information are guaranteed.

And

(3) Censorship is not permitted.

No article, as far as I can tell, allows the government to ban pornographic material, barring maybe this section.

(4) The freedom of expression and the right to seek and disseminate information may be limited by law in the case of measures necessary in a democratic society for protecting the rights and freedoms of others, the security of the State, public security, public health, and morals.

Of course, I do not know much about Czech morals, but they do have some interesting ones (possibly the most liberal gun laws within the EU, for example) in comparison to the rest of the EU member states.

Does the EU law override that of the constitution? What are the limits of EU power? I am really curious.

You can threaten to take away people's right to vote and act as individuals...

But you touch their porn and suddenly people actually get up and start beating your ass.

Not G. Ivingname:
Here is a question that just popped into my head.

What if the EU makes a law that is utterly unconstitutional within a member nation?

Well, the EU isn't a single entity. A treaty has to be ratified by members, and if you have ratified a treaty it makes little sense to then go home and cry about having to change a few laws to fit with the treaty. So there is the principle of supremacy, EU treaties takes precedence over national laws. If EU law says you can have two cows and national law says you can only have one cow then national law is usually changed. To build on your czech example, I think they have an article in their constitution that states that any international treaty (which includes EU treaties) that are ratified by the Czech government takes precedence over Czech law, should it conflict with some Czech law.

In the case that the EU ratifies a treaty that goes against the constitution of a country it would get trickier. I think the same principle applies. But it takes more work by the government seeing as it would have to change the constitution. Which could very well fail if it is a controversial topic. In Sweden for example a change in the constitution (or rather one of the constitutional or basic laws) has to be accepted by the riksdag (parliament) twice, with an election in between. Making it hard to pass a change that just doesn't sit well with the people.

While the wording on many European "constitutional amendments" is often weird, if the country even has a constitution to begin with, some EU member's "law of the land" make it very clear that you can't ban pornography.

Don't exactly know what you mean here. Most (if not all) european nations don't deal with amendments like you do. We do of course amend the constitution regularly but that is more along the line of updating it for modern audiences, like changing "men" to "citizens." and calling it a day. If we change the constitution fundamentally we just change it and slap the sticker "constitution of 2013" on it instead. Of course small changes or "amendments" to happen without a total namechange. Although at least in the Swedish case the namechange isn't official, it's just a way of distinguishing it from previous constitutions. But those are minor. See, its when they change the name you know its srs bsns.

If you want to know what the EU is, what it can and cannot do I would advise you to read up on the treaties of the European Union http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaties_of_the_European_Union
They form the basis of EU constitution.

As for whether EU law tramps national law. As I said above, in normal cases yes EU law weighs heavier. In constitutional cases, sadly not sure. But I suspect it is the same thing. But you are right that many european constitutions ban censorship by the government except in specific cases (usually kiddy porn and treason). And that would prove a hurdle for any government trying to implement a porn ban.

 

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