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(Feb 25, 2013) It was reported on February 20, 2013, that Halla Gunnarsdóttir, an advisor in Iceland Ponders Internet Porn Ban, ICENEWS (Feb. 20, 2013).)

The Ministry is reportedly working on a draft law on the subject that would block porn websites and prohibit payment for access to them using credit cards supplied by Icelandic banks. (Andrey Fedyashin, Internet Censorship: Iceland – Porn-Free Island, THE VOICE OF RUSSIA (Feb. 18, 2013).) Iceland already has anti-pornography provisions that apply to print publications, but they do not now cover online content. (Almenn hegningarlög [General Criminal Law], Law No. 19 (Feb. 12, 1940, as last amended June 27, 2012), arts. 210, 210a, & 210b, Althingi [Parliament] website.)

While those advocating the ban cite its value in protecting children, observers concerned about freedom of speech on the Internet have criticized the proposal. Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the legislature from the city of Reykjavik, while generally praising the Minister of the Interior,Ögmundur Jónasson, the originator of the ban proposal, as a "man of principles and courage," calls the porn ban suggestion "way off track" and states that it has little chance of being adopted. (Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Iceland's Internet "Porn Shield" Is Misguided and Unworkable [editorial], THE GUARDIAN (Feb. 15, 2013).) She added that the proposal "has already made many companies think twice before hosting their business in Iceland – not because they support porn, but because they fear the country's laws could transit into the kind of full-blown censorship commonly attributed to countries like China and Saudi Arabia." (Id.)

It has also been noted that it would be difficult to block all pornographic material from reaching Iceland via the Internet, due to the global nature of online information and the quantity of porn now available. (Iceland Ponders Internet Porn Ban, supra.)

Gunnarsdóttir counters critics by stating that the move would not be "anti-sex. It is anti-violence because young children are seeing porn and acting it out. That is where we draw the line. This material is blurring the boundaries for young people about what is right and wrong." (Id.) She added that the government is looking into technical aspects of carrying out an Internet porn ban, stating, "surely if we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the Internet." (Id.)

Author: Constance Johnson More by this author
Topic: Freedom of speech More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Iceland More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 02/25/2013