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Thursday, 24 February, 2000, 12:51 GMT
Sweden debates pornography laws

television
Cable TV has caused greatest concern


The Swedish parliament is scheduled to debate rules on pornography, following widespread concern about the increased amount of hard porn on cable television.

A few weeks ago, the alleged gang rape of an underage girl by teenagers caused outcry in the country, which is relatively unused to violent crime.

And last week, more than 50 MPs were shown video examples of the types of sex available on pay-per-view channels.

'Not a moral issue'

Some of the examples were of a particularly violent nature, and many of the MPs have called for a review of Sweden's legislation.

Some MPs have even called for Sweden to push for a EU-wide broadcasting ban on some types of hard-core pornography when they take over the presidency next spring.

Social Democrat Inger Segelstroem is one MP who believes violent pornography should not be available on television.

"This is not a moral issue and has nothing to do with erotic films and pictures," Ms Segelstroem told the BBC.

Criminal cases

"What we are working against is the violence in pornography, which is already forbidden by law."

She says one film in particular - which recently caused a public outcry - depicts scenes involving a group of men wearing masks of animal heads apparently raping a single woman.

She says there are currently three serious criminal cases in the Sweden involving groups of young men who are alleged to have raped underage girls.

Parents and teachers are now asking whether there is a connection between such crimes and violent pornography available on television, says Ms Segelstroem.

But Dutch journalist Bernadette De Wit says she is adamantly against censorship.

Describing the Swedish parliament's moves as "regressive" she said the government should be concentrating instead on education.

"I think what a good civilised government should do is educate people and create the conditions for good sex education," she told the BBC.

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