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|You are in: Talking Point: Debates: European|
Saturday, 11 March, 2000, 13:29 GMT
Should Europe ban violent TV porn?
The recent multiple rape of a 14-year-old girl in Stockholm has triggered a national debate in Sweden about the amount of violent porn shown on cable television. The issue was discussed in the Swedish parliament this week.
Do you think depictions of violent sexual encounters lead to copycat actions?
Should Sweden push for EU legislation when it takes over the presidency next year?
In this week's Europewide debate Mark Reid brought together Inger Segelstroem of Sweden's governing Social Democratic party in Stockholm and, from Amsterdam, the radical Dutch journalist Bernadette de Wit. Listen to their debate and then have your say. The depiction of violent pornography alone doesn't lead to copycats. These kind of statements hide the real issues that underpin violent assault in real-life which are the effects of different social and cultural phenomena. The widespread access to violent pornographic material does contribute to the social acceptance and tolerance of such acts.
Europe has become way too liberal in recent years. Sex is everywhere. Pornography should not be broadcast into millions of homes! If someone wants pornography, they should be able to get it at a video store. Banning pornography completely is not the answer, because that will only cause a black market. However, pornography should be banned from television and the internet. We also need to tone down with all the public displays of nudity, like magazine advertisements of nude people, pornographic postcards, or nude women on billboards advertising yoghurt! These things would have shocked our grandparents. Our morals have completely gone down the drain. We need to stop this Hollywood-ization of Europe.
It is interesting to note that a lot of the discussion revolves around the fact that some people cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy. Yet a lot of the people who want violent pornography banned talk about it as if what is happening on in the film is really happening.
A video showing a young woman being raped by men in animal masks is not actually happening. They are consenting adults who are acting out a fantasy and are happy to participate in this type of production. Please remember that these "sick, degrading acts" are not real and that the actress and actors all shake hands at the end of the day and get paid handsomely for doing it.
Why ban only violent porn? Ban all porn on TV I say! OK, I agree people should have freedom of choice. However, the law is essential for protecting the innocent. It is so easy for children to innocently turn on the TV when nobody is there and be exposed to sex or violence. Surely this is abuse through the back door, depriving them of their freedom to be innocent. Children need to learn about the beauty of sex and the evil of violence at the right time and in a safe environment.
Peter Barraclough, UK
The comments of viewers on pornography and why they should be able to view it are almost exactly the same as the legal owners of guns in the states and why they should be able to keep them.
Take it anyway you want to, but if you can say you should be able to watch porn because you haven't raped and are law abiding - having never committed a crime, then listen with an open mind to those in the US who are advocates for the 2nd Amendment.
K Wayne, USA
I don't have a problem with most porn (though anything involving children or violence is abhorrent to me)...but as mature adults we appreciate that these films or pictures are fantasy...a child or teenager with no experience may think this is 'normal' and act accordingly... As the news contains details of rapes by younger and younger children surely the answer is to restrict their access to it?
What I would like to see is some rational study on the effect of violent pornography on people's personal behaviour - facts and figures. While it may be that seeing these things on television or the internet may give certain individuals ideas, for others it may be a fantasy outlet for urges which, let's face it, have been with us since time began.
Similar crimes happen in the UK - one happened recently in Gloucester - and porn is still heavily illegal here.
"Young girl killed by speeding motorist". Therefore ban all television coverage of fast driving (motrosport etc.). QED.
I would ban any film depicting what would be an illegal sexual act (children / animals / rape / etc.) unless it was key to the plot and not directly or explicitly shown.
Rape has been happening since time immemorial, long before there was porn in any form. Secondly, if teenagers do watch this sort of stuff surely it's due to lack of proper control by their parents, because it's NOT freely available.
John Cahill, UK
Bans only affect law abiding people, Plato said "The good don't need laws, the bad don't observe them".
It's surely a simply case of ...See No Evil, Do No Evil ...See Some Evil, Do Some Evil and - worst of all ...See a lot of extreme crudity, evil and depravity, Do a lot of extremely crude, evil and depraved things?
Of course, you cannot generalise, but why do you think sexual crime, stalking and assault has increased so dramatically in nearly all countries over the last few years?
Adrian Paul Miles, UK
I am a teenager but that hasn't stopped me from watching porn off the internet or from borrowing them from my friends. I believe pornography sometimes is what stops people from raping others. They see this as an easy way to get off rather than going to jail.
I believe that banning it can really hurt more than it can help. Some peoples urge's will not let them wait them they are of a certain age.
Quite simply, there is no need for this type of program. No respectable individual should want to watch violent sexual acts of any nature. It is demeaning and symptomatic of a sick mind. Freedom to "turn it off" is the most pathetic argument I have ever heard for keeping it and those that use this excuse are just proving that they are morally corrupt!
As for the UK having more severe censorship laws then, in my view, they are NOT severe enough. I believe that ANY pornographic broadcast should be banned all over Europe. Society is bad enough as it is without us allowing impressionable idiots access to viewing that WILL corrupt them even further.
A number of valid points have been raised in this discussion but I think the real root of the problem is that youngsters these days have no moral guidelines to follow. Sex and relationships are not taught properly at school so many teenagers grow up with only television as a teacher. I believe that even programs such as Eastenders, Brookside etc give an image of dysfunctional families, divorce, rape and even murder which younger children see as "normal". I think it is about time that TV took a more responsible role and started producing shows designed for teenagers to teach them about meaningful relationships.
The assassination of Chris Hani, and spraying a Church congregation in Cape Town with AK47 rifles, were both identical to TV shows (Mary Queen of Scots, and Dirty Harry) that reached South Africa in the respective preceding weeks. Drama has the power to stir disturbed minds.
David de Vere Webb, UK
All pornography should be banned! It is not only degrading to the people involved but is influencing those who see it for bad and evil. England, indeed the world, needs a return to good moral principles based on the Bible. The way the country is going away from the things of God is frightening. It should be clearly understood that God loves all people bur he HATES all sin. And pornography and all forms of sexual deviation are sin in His eyes - not in mine, but in His. The sooner this is realised and people turn back to Biblical principles - back to basics if you like! - the better.
William Butcher, England
The majority of criminal cases that have tried to link porn to crime have been the lawyers trying to get their guilty clients an easy sentence, if not freedom on diminished responsibility. There is probably no link other than journalists know that, especially in the UK, this sensationalist puritan tirade will sell papers.
Russ Moore, England
Pornography, from page three and FHM magazine to 'hardcore' violence, is misogyny. Why has it not been banned already?
Sue Thomas, UK
A person's abhorrence and revulsion with violence will be deadened by constant images of that violence.
The problem with the violent porn shown on cable here in Sweden is that it's not ONLY adults watching it. Since it comes right into your living room it means that young teenagers can watch it. Most of them on their own TV in their own room, meaning their parents really don't know what's going on.
The 14-year old girl who was raped, was raped by boys in the ages 15-16 years. It's easy, as an adult with real life experience of sex, to sit and say "that it shouldn't be banned, it has never done me any harm to watch it", but if you're 14 or 15 years old and have NO experience of sex or what it can be like between 2 adults, you can easily be misled to believe that what's shown on TV is the way it's supposed to be: All women want 3 guys or more, all women say no but really means yes "they're just teasing you" etc.
I have enjoyed watching pornography for the last couple of years with my girlfriend. We both enjoy it and use it as a means of stimulation, I can however see that in the wrong hands it can be extremely damaging. It should be restricted.
If Pete Morgan-Lucas et al. would classify as prudes those of us who would seek to have this ugly and dehumanising material banned from our screens (and the Internet), then exactly what form of low life are they who consume it? Anyone who begins to justify the broadcasting of, or watch, the gang rape of a 14 year old, and indeed gratuitous violence of any sort, is inhuman.
Since we are all on a similar journey through life and each of us emanated from the sexual act why, in heavens, would anyone seek to demean it? There are enough horrors in this world for us to contend with without our deliberately manufacturing more. Send these voyeurs packing and get this ugliness banned once and for all.
It is human nature to be shocked whenever a terrible crime occurs. But let's face it, policy decisions have to be made where not everyone will be unambiguously better off. No matter how we look at the issue, it is certain that such crimes will not be eliminated. The decision of whether to ban violent porn thus rests of the respective costs and benefits of such a policy. I believe banning such material will not lower the incidence of such crimes significantly, because the root of the problem lies elsewhere.
Before we go any further, one thing has to be established: rape has nothing to do with sex, it's an act to humiliate the raped, to hurt as deep as possible. As for porno giving somebody an idea how to do it, well, it won't go away if you ban it. There will always be sick, demented individuals, who in their quest to ruin other people's lives, do it.
As far as I know, there is no correlation between pornography and rape, or the lack of it. There is one way to combat this kind of problem, and that is education, not only in how to reproduce, but also how to behave in a socially acceptable way. And that includes how to handle a NO! from your partner. Also, involve the parents of kids in risk, help and support them, so their kids don't become perpetrators or victims.
Kjell Boman, Sweden
The fact that a criminal imitates a movie or pornographic video does not indicate a causal link. It merely confirms that the majority of people are not terribly creative. Having chosen to commit a crime, it is simply easier to adapt an idea gleaned from a external source than to invent something on the spot. The censorship of violent porn will not prevent such crimes but merely force the offenders to turn to other sources for inspiration.
Bobby Lynn, Singapore
To all those people who say "but I pay my license fee - I should be able to stop hardcore porn on my TV: Hardcore Porn is a cable or satellite thing. It will never appear on mainstream television channels to which your license fee contributes. Neither is *your* license fee the only source of income that the non-commercial channels make: there's a couple of other people in the UK too!
To everyone who thinks that banning hardcore porn will stop rape and illegal sex and everything else: get real! People just use the availability of such material as a scapegoat - they must have an evil mind in the first place for them to even think of such a thing!
Yes, we could ban violent pornography, but we would still be left with a world where Hollywood endlessly turns out gratuitously violent films (there's no question of heavily censoring that, is there?) and we would have restricted free-speech with no hard evidence that it would lead to a reduction in rape. This is really only a suggestion from puritan elements who oppose pornography on principle and will do whatever it takes to get it all banned.
Dave Lock, UK
And I thought Americans were the only ones who acted out on what they watch on Television. Sex is probably the one thing that the human animal enjoys most. Violence, judging from the world news I watch every evening, is probably the second most favored act. And to point out the painfully obvious, the media is just a reflection of what the majority wants to see.
Jared Griffin, United States
UK censorship didn't prevent the Moors murderers, the Yorkshire Ripper or Fred West. However, I think mass media should be subject to controls on the grounds of taste and decency, to make everyday life bearable for the majority of people.
Hardcore porn is available on the internet, just two clicks away, with no possibility of censorship. We should devote our efforts to giving people a decent set of values to live by, rather than restricting their freedom.
I agree that this sort of television is filth but that doesn't mean that you have to watch it. You also cannot blame everything that happens on something that was seen on television. You would have to ban the broadcasting of the news!
Violent porn sucks! However let's get real about its effect on behaviour. If action movies incite murder and violent porn creates rapists, what kind of movie productions inspire cruelty to animals (being more common than rape and murder together)? There's always a mountain of other problems in the life of a rapist who claims to have been inspired by a nasty porn video!
If TV/video/film is such a factor in forming of character, analyse this: The "Home Alone" movies - the perfect cartoon story with live actors: If you drop a brick 3 stories down on the villain's head, he falls over with a silly smile, his eyes crossed, birds chirping around his head, gets up in 5 seconds and is ready for another blow. Hilarious in the minds of the 6-10 year old audience.
Nicholas Cort, Sweden
A large part of women's erotic literature that can be purchased in high-street book shops in the UK (Top Shelf, Black Lace etc.) is concerned with the restraint, bondage, whipping and spanking of its main female characters.
This stuff is almost exclusively written by women for women, and it sells by the truck load, which seems at odds with the 'ban it all' attitude presented by many females contributing to this discussion.
I found it interesting to see the difference in the opinions of English people to that of those outside the UK. It's about time England grew up. Is rape higher in Sweden than in England my guess would be no. Yes this kind of pornography is awful stuff, but to blame it for a rape is illogical.
Andrew Lerwill, Canary Islands
I have watched porn my entire adult life, and have never had the need to commit a crime against woman, man, child or beast. I find the accusations in this debate that myself and probably 99% of other pornography users need psychiatric help outrageous.
May I suggest that not only do people who find all porn offensive to be repressed and in need of help themselves, but also their attitudes are what leads people to commit hideous crimes like this anyway. The UK is far too repressive already and is in need of giving the individual more freedom and to stop insulting our intelligence.
Greg Bengtson, UK
The problem with this is that whilst some can distinguish between fantasy (in this case, the porn) and real life, there are a few which will always spoil it for others by not being able to tell the difference. It seems to be a part of human nature, that is, the range of abilities to tell between the real and the non-real.
William F, USA
Anything that is shown again and again is trivialised. People no longer see it as something abhorrent. Sex showing both parties enjoying it is ok, but violent porn is degrading and dehumanising. It needs to be stopped
Khushal Khan, USA
It makes such a change to see half our American friends here screaming that anything that might be used as a scapegoat is evil. The claim that pornography somehow "brainwashes" people into performing these acts basically states that there is a group of people out there who are extremely easily lead.
So rather than attempting to restore balance to these people, why not ban everything that might influence them? Perhaps some advice on gun crime next?
Matt, Netherlands (ex. UK)
I can't believe that there are people within our society who think that pornography is less than harmless. Pornography certainly does degrade women and does effect our perception of sexual relationships. I have seen some pornographic movies, i.e. when I was younger, so I think that I am able to make a comment here.
Pornography does not portray sex as a commitment between two people, the love that two people have for each other nor respect for your partner. I certainly believe that pornography is not 'healthy' in this respect and should be banned. However, as I am a 'realist', I can't see this happening, however, some extreme measures need to be introduced to stop the proliferation and the easy access to such material, violent or otherwise.
The debate misses one important issue. If (and that's questionable) porn could have any effect on any individuals, it still does not inspire any great majority to practice rape. The problem does not lie in the consumption of violent porn, but in those mentally ill or mentally frustrated individuals who are unable to assess the consequences of their actions.
Hence the solution to the problem should not lie in banning porn. Instead we should attack the source of the problem, and the source is that distinct minority of individuals rather than the porn itself.
Although I do not approve of hardcore pornography, we must still respect freedom of expression. Banning it is another example of how the government can dictate what you can and cannot watch! If this was to happen then hardcore pornography will not go away, in fact I think it would go underground making the situation worse! And to those of you who don't like pornography: Don't watch it!!
I get tired of people who say 'if you don't like it turn it off'. I resent paying a license fee to then have to turn off my TV so that I don't have to watch people committing sick crimes.
Ted Bundy himself said pornography is dangerous. He said it corrupts the mind slowly. And before you react to that, I should say he also slipped in that it was his fault he became a serial killer, not the porn's. But he said it sure didn't help the situation.
Explicit pornography, especially violent pornography, has no place in mainstream society. If people want to see that stuff, then fine. But that's their own deal. They can get it just fine if it's "underground".
You are what you think. Unless you are mature enough, you are capable of distinguishing what is appropriate and what is not. That viewer of pornography knows which category they fall into. There are people who can't do it and they will be triggered to try those things. Even if I am capable of distinguishing, I will be happy to sacrifice pornography for the sake of my sisters and brothers in this world before they become victims of lust.
Blaming porn is an easy way out -- I think society as a whole must assume responsibility. Americans made the same mistake when they blamed South Park and KMFDM for the Columbine shooting. The questions that need to be raised are more fundamental.
I wonder what Mike Weinstein makes of the US army monster who brutally raped and murdered that 13 year old Albanian girl? It's all too easy to apportion blame to faceless 'aliens' and charter hearsay and conjecture. That is how paranoia breeds. The enemy in our 'own household' is by far the more redoubtable villain, since we have to live with him all the time. The US military has a pretty bad record for sexual debauchery in third world countries. Let's clean up our back yard first, okay?
Simon Cameron, UK
I went for a visit to Papua New Guinea where rape is as common as putting sugar in your coffee and where young girls are pack raped so often it doesn't even make the newspapers, yet porn of all kinds has been banned there since the Australian administration of pre-1975.
There is little connection between watching violent porn movies and violent sexual acts. Why do people start screaming for porn to be banned whenever a case of pack rape or sexual murder arises? Good porn, watched in private, can be a great therapy. I believe that it is rarely the root cause of rape or sexual violence.
Wong Tiu Leng, Hong Kong
Please don't take away an individuals right and insult our intelligence by dictating what we can and cannot view. I am an intelligent and educated woman, who enjoys viewing erotic material as part of my relationship with my husband.
Neither myself or my husband have ever committed any crime, sexual or otherwise! If we viewed anything we deemed to be offensive or degrading to either of us, we have the common sense to turn the TV off.
Joanne B, UK
The problem with this and indeed televised violence generally is that it has zero effect on 95% of the people who watch it. However, the 5% who are influenced is the problem. Millions of people watched the film 'Rambo - First Blood', but it only took one deranged, impressionable half-wit who watched it - Michael Ryan - for the film to indirectly result in the deaths of many people.
Ultimately, society may have to consider using the power of digital technology to restrict access to content to such people as well as to distribute it - but that raises huge issues as well. As ever, the foibles of the minority are going to make life difficult for the normal majority.
There have been actual criminal cases in the UK where viewers copied evil acts (rape, attempted murder) that they had seen beforehand on screen. Therefore it is at least possible that the viewing of such films makes it more likely that harm may come to other members of society as a result. Therefore banning them is justified.
Miland Joshi, UK
To make a direct link between porn and crime is too simplistic. However every society must decide the values it wishes to promote. The porn industry must be regulated in some way - no right thinking person would support child pornography. In any community, our actions effect others.
Those advocates of explicit porn support a value system where sex is just for self-gratification and multiple relationships are acceptable. In the long run, this will not be conducive to stable society built on trust and loyalty.
First of all, sorry for my English which is not the best... What I think about this matter, is that the people who commit such acts are persons who really don't need such broadcasting. They are "prepared" to do it before having seen it. I just take an example. Lots of couples copy "love scenes" from a porn film. But they made love before copying. So, what I think is that the violent or porn films broadcast on channels do not encourage to do like this, but show the way to do it!!
I think the greater influence on how people behave comes from their upbringing and peer group. That said anyone that enjoys violent porn (as opposed to erotica) must be psychologically sick and needs help.
Personally I have never seen any violent porn, but if you are talking about physical abuse, torture perhaps even death how can any normal person find that stimulating and of course it should not be shown on television.
The call to ban this and ban that, is not only foolish (as it promoted an illegal market) it is downright insulting. The law is there to protect freedoms not to nanny us. Pornography when it includes consenting adults is not a problem. The problem is the relaxed sentencing of criminals convicted of sex crimes. More attention should be paid to preventing the recidivist rapist, than infringing on the rights of the law abiding citizen.
Peter Scheer, UK
The problem with Porn, or any violence is that once seen, you can't un-see it. The image and it's associated thoughts are trapped in your brain, and there is no way to judge how you have been affected. Of course this is not to say that banning Porn, Violence, or Dishonest Politicians from the media will make anyone a better person. But, maybe it's a start in the right direction.
The possibility of copycat sexual violence doesn't surprise me. Psychological research has shown that exposure to violence desensitises. Sexual violence is nothing new, but anything which effectively promotes it (and that is what violent pornography does) alters the attitudes of the viewer, even at a subconscious level. Watching these types for films makes it "acceptable" to the viewer at some level.
With the diminished responsibility inherent in group behaviour, it can make a permissive attitude to sexual violence extremely dangerous. Ultimately, the entire lives of women, and children, are being, and have been, ruined for good by the perpetrators of sexual violence, who have often been influenced by violent pornography.
I think that to start with you need to define pornography ! Who can do this ? Some people will be offended by some pornography whereas others will find it acceptable, even pleasurable. After you define pornography you then have to ask yourself if you have the right to stop others having a right to view whatever they please. If you agree to this form of censorship then we could take this a step further, do TV films/videos showing people taking drugs convert people into drug abusers? If so we should also ban these films/videos.
Steve Allen, Sweden
The porn that is shown on Swedish cable is not what would be considered violent or sadistic by any stretch of the imagination. The "right on feminist" people who are calling for its ban should please remember that this material is only available on a very expensive subscription channel at midnight most evenings and that no-one is pointing a gun at your head forcing you to watch it.
Danny Forrest, Sweden
I find it hard to see how some people can agree with the showing of porn of any kind. I was brought up in a house without a television and it was only when I came to university that I got the chance to watch it. I must confess that some of the items shown have changed my attitude and outlook on life.
I think watching violence and porn on TV can stir the imagination and those with a slightly twisted mind or who have not been brought up to respect women will be incited to commit acts they would not otherwise have even thought of. Not many people imagine or fantasise about violent porn without having had a seed of thought planted by reading such magazines or viewing such TV.
I really don't think it's possible to ban anything anymore...where there is a will there's a way and there's a man waiting to sell it !!!...You can't legislate against people's fantasies however sick...this is not Orwell.
We must make the distinction between soft porn, or erotica, and the hard stuff which is, on many levels, violent. I'm all for freedom of speech and liberal censorship laws, in fact I'm pro porn - I am not, however, pro material that incites hatred and violence. Let's not be trendily 'anti-pc' about this: it's pretty rough stuff.
Not that I condone violent porn but what is next banning violent movies? Why not ban the Bible while we are at it? It has adultery, murder and mass genocide in it. Haven't we learned from the US prohibition that it is impossible to regulate society with laws? Keep it legal to keep it safe for the actors and to be able to look over it and ensure that no existing laws get broken.
Sebastian, German in US
Violent pornographic film should not be shown on television.
John Disser, the Netherlands
The incredible thing is that the Swedish news broadcasts show things in extreme detail. Yesterday my wife was watching the news and they were talking about illegal porn on websites. They then went on to show examples, censoring them in no way. It sounds incredible but this was shown at 12:30 in the afternoon! Before worrying about the cable channels they should clean up their terrestrial television.
Michael T Farnworth, Sweden (normally UK)
I'm all for free speech - except when that free speech incites hatred. And I think that porn, particularly violent porn, incites hatred of women at worst; treatment of women as things at 'best.' It's definitely a contributory factor to attacks as it reinforces the mindset that gives rise to them.
Like with so many other banned or regulated things the ban does not remove it, only forces it to use illegal channels and thus create artificial criminality.
Teaching is the only way to influence in all matters where a part of society considers a thing unsuitable or criminal and another normal or looking/using as private matter.
Mikko Toivonen, Finland
An interesting point brought up by one person writing in, she said whatever is shown on TV/film someone will copy it. If that's the case why don't we just show good, none violent images in our fantasy world, reality is violent enough. Maybe just maybe everyone will want to copy the good things they see. When we talk of not being effected by what we see, ask the advertisers, they don't spend billions of pounds effecting the way we spend our money for no reason. One more point why is it that I can watch, on TV/Film, people being murdered usually in slow motion and from several different angles, yet I can't watch people making love....very strange!
Dermot Ryan, UK
I don't believe that hard porn leads to major crimes. Here in Holland one only sees soft porn on TV at 23:00 and it is so minimal that it's not worth mentioning. On Canal+ (a kind of Sky) there are more hardcore films every other night. Many people watch these, even kids, but look at our statistics! Sure, there are rapes, but they've always been there.
Here in NL, there are fewer single mothers, fewer drug users, crimes etc than other countries, especially UK, yet here they're more lenient in this sense (although we otherwise don't have any democracy).
If you say that hard porn is a terrible influence, why not go even further? Ban films with any swearing, nudity or violence. Ban swearwords in music. Ban drugs. But they do this in the UK and look what's happening there!!!
Matthew Dean, Netherlands (although I'm British)
I think that violent porn is not good for people, because it kills all humanity in people and it should be banned on TV. Who wants to watch that kind of movies should rent video-tapes and watch at home, not on TV-stations. We had in Croatia enough violence during the war years and our national TV doesn't show these kind of movies, which is good, because after war, nobody likes violence on TV.
When the Vikings went on their pillaging and rape trips from Sweden it must have been because they were watching violent porn movies right? Or perhaps it's because they were not exactly well adjusted like these sick scumbags who committed the rape. It's not the porn that is at fault but the sick society that creates people who can't distinguish between real and unreal, good and bad, and between symptoms and cause.
I would look at the parents first. Sterilise the parents of these scum, test that for a while before you start banning the porn.
Martin Bentley, UK
Japan has a fairly lackadaisical censorship policy when it comes to pornography & violence yet they have relatively low violent sex crime statistics compared with a lot of European countries & especially the States. I think certain Social values are a factor in this but so is the accessibility of pornography.
Aren't we a little late in our social and psychological development to blame single factors for behaviour that has been around for aeons? Perhaps because we seek to adhere to certain moral values in our civilised society we should look for possible causes in all areas of science and behaviour: Let's not adopt old and frankly narrow minded excuses for the depths of Human behaviour.
I can't believe some of you. Saying that porn doesn't lead to violence against women is having your head in the sand. Porn not only is and will lead some people to crimes, but it is sick and should be banned. Anyone that wants to watch it should seek immediate psychiatric help. If you get off on something like that, what is next, kiddie porn?
Ban porn? Maybe but what will be next, violent film, explicit music lyrics? How does violent porn differ from a violent movie in promoting violent acts? If violent porn (however that maybe distinguished) is banned, do we also ban films like Die Hard because people might start running around corporate buildings shooting, stabbing and throwing people out of the windows. Even if this violent porn is banned people who want to watch it still can, they will just then be watching it illegally and the industry producing the material will have moved underground.
N. Bradley, U.K (in U.S)
I read in the accompanying information that the Dutch journalist Bernadette de Wit is criticising calls for censorship. Perhaps before taking advice from The Netherlands it would be well to consider that the murder rate in Holland is the highest of any developed country, almost 3 times that in the USA. (Source Economist World in Figures,1997). The Netherlands are all for freedom but at what price?
Tim Arnett, Dominican Republic
What good would banning porn do? People would just view it somewhere else. Banning it would only treat the symptom, not the problem. People need to be held accountable for their actions.
In my country of origin viz. India, the current right-wing BJP government has banned ads on condoms in the government owned TV channels -- reason? It will "corrupt" the minds of young people and make them "prone" to indulge in pre-marital sex. This is an extreme case of government policing on what should or should not be shown on TV. I think Sweden should desist from these kind of bans. After all if the logic doing the rounds i.e. the 14-yr girl was gang-raped because of violent porn movies, the same holds for any kind of violence in regular movies. Are those movies responsible for violence among teens?
I've watched a lot of porn, both violent and non-violent, and it always stays as a fantasy. As long as the porn is regulated, all actors are of legitimate age and have given full consent, then its fine. If people want to view this stuff, then it will always be produced.
Violent rape was around long before cable television. People need something to blame because they can't bear to take the blame themselves. It has nothing to do with the media. It has to do with instilling discipline and respect within today's society
Phil Allen, UK
I personally can not see the need for violence depicted in porn or erotica. It seems to me that erotic movies can be made that are not de-humanising towards women. Respect for women would not allow one to brutally gang rape young girls. These seem more to be violent acts than sexual acts, and should be punished severely. Unfortunately in Canada, you do less time for molesting children than drunken driving. Who is sick?
Violent porn should be banned by legislation.
Bob Lawson, UK
If porn corrupts the viewer and therefore needs to be censored, how can we be sure those that do the censoring do not become corrupted in the process. Or are we to assume that they are either of a higher morale standard than the rest or us, or corrupted already?
Paul Stringer, England
If TV/Cinema is to blame, I have the perfect solution to the problem. Make a show or film called "cliff jumping is great, especially when the tide is out" and hey presto we get rid of all the people who can't watch TV without copying everything they see (if they actually exist). That will leave the rest of us free to watch what we want without fear. And for the record, I can't think why anyone would want to watch violent porn in the first place, the thought of it is quite distasteful, but who am I to judge other peoples taste?
As far as television is concerned, we already live in a granny state in the UK. I don't think someone who wants to commit a crime (relating to rape, or whatever),really needs a prompt from the television before they do it. I think if people are watching television for novel crime ideas - the worry isn't television but society.
Anton McCoy, UK
Ban pornographers not its distribution channels.
In theory, yes. However, one must have a depraved intellect to copy that kind of 'behaviour'. Legislation of itself does not help. You cannot legislate behaviour or morality. We need to communicate as a people, to find the ones among us that have a problem.
Catch 22: you can't arrest or modify the behaviour of someone who hasn't committed a crime. It is not illegal to be a sociopath, and by their very nature, they do not wish to change.
A Wilson, Canada
Why the surprise? For years, many countries have been fooling themselves, supporting the open use of pornography as "healthy". Now you want to create a false distinction between violent pornography and, what, "regular" pornography.
Rather than promoting sex as a physical expression of a loving relationship, you end up with a mere physical act. This results in an endless semantic debate of what constitutes violence. When you sow the wind you reap the whirlwind.
DM Stevens, USA
Blaming rape on pornography, violent or non-violent, is like blaming short skirts for causing rape. It is putting the blame in the wrong place. Rape is caused by the person who commits the crime. Now, it is true that most sex offenders are involved in some sort of pornography, but the pornography does not cause those people to become rapists.
Pornography is the symptom of a problem that these people have, not the driving force behind the problem. It is like blaming violent behaviour on video games. If everyone who played violent games became violent in real life then you might have a good argument. The simple fact is that only a very small percentage of the population engages in these aberrant behaviours. There is something wrong with them that goes far beyond the movies they watch.
Of course it should be banned. Anyone who thinks this revolting, degrading dross is all right is in need of urgent psychiatric help.
When I read the question, I was shocked. My first thought is, "What the hell is going on in Europe?" The type of pornography described in Sweden, where men wearing animal masks rape a single woman reminds me of some of the weird stuff that was found in Kosovo after the Serbs were kicked out.
In a Serb torture chamber, bizarre pornographic magazines were found showing pictures of men wearing werewolf costumes raping young women. I just don't understand why there would even be a debate about this kind of barbarism. At the least, this type of film is outrageous and should offend the moral sensibilities of any civilised person. At worst, it's a crime in progress. Either way - get rid of it!
Mike Weinstein, USA
As usual, there always has to be "somebody to blame" for crimes. This kind of censorship loved so much by this nanny state is an insult to the vast majority of law abiding citizens. All those screaming to ban these films should think where their actions will lead. Ban the Bible because it supports slavery and encourages violence? After all, the prisons are full of criminals and murderers doing "God's work".
Vernon Bigg, UK
Are they going to ban kitchen knives as well because they could be dangerous. If they're so worried about violence then why don't they ban dross like the 'A' team and WWF Wrestling? Most people who debate 'violent' porn have never seen any porn, never mind any with violence overt or implied.
Richard Avis, United Kingdom
Whatever is shown on TV there will unfortunately always be someone who copies what they see whether it be kids copying cartoon actions or matters on a more serious level. I think that there should be more guidelines and watchdogs should be more harsh with what we see for lots of different reasons. There will always be someone who isn't head strong enough to do what they want to do and so a few people will always copy.
The UK's level of censorship on such matters already far exceeds that of most other European countries. Rather than further banning of such material, the EU should, if anything, be prosecuting the UK for its unnecessarily-censorious and prudish attitude.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
Nobody is forced to watch TV; if you don't like something, you have the power to turn it off, which is far better than giving someone else the power to turn it off for everybody!
Pete Morgan-Lucas, UK
Yes the Swedish should push for EU legislation to ban such filth from the airwaves. There is nothing positive that comes from viewing violent pornography. The United States is a prime example of how violent porn influences how some people act. It is degrading and disgraceful. When will the bleeding hearts of this world realise that the cliché "garbage in, garbage out" also applies to the human brain?!
24 Feb 00 | Europe
Sweden debates pornography laws
03 Dec 99 | Wales
Film copycat rapist is jailed
22 Oct 99 | UK
'Scream' attackers given six years
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