Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Sex imagery probe may be extended

Adult publisher Playboy puts its logo on products such as pencil cases
Adult publisher Playboy puts its logo on products such as pencil cases

MSPs are considering extending their probe into the use of sexual imagery in goods aimed at children.

Holyrood's Equal Opportunities Committee has expressed serious concern about inappropriate merchandise being targeted at under-16s.

MSPs are now looking into commissioning external research to gain more of an insight into the issue.

Adult publisher Playboy, which puts its logo on products such as pencil cases, was one company to be singled out.

The committee last year heard claims about the availability of items, such as provocative children's T-shirt logos and high-heel slip-on shoes for babies.

Refused invite

Liberal Democrat MSP Hugh O'Donnell said the concerns were anecdotal and the extent of public concern had to be established.

Nationalist MSP Sandra White added: "We do need more research. I think there is some evidence to show that the goods we're talking about do sexualise children."

But former minister Malcolm Chisholm, a Labour MSP, questioned whether the Scottish Government would be able to act on the outcome of any further research.

He added: "My instinct is not to go forward with this."

Several retailers have so far refused to give evidence to the committee on the issue, while Playboy has firmly rejected accusations that such merchandise was knowingly aimed at children.

The Scottish Retail Consortium said the issue was aimed more at the manufacturing and advertising sectors.

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