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Why Iceland is seriously considering a ban on Internet porn

Published: Friday, Feb. 15 2013 12:35 p.m. MST

Iceland’s interior minister is preparing legislation that would effectively render Internet pornography inaccessible to Icelanders.

The Daily Mail broke the story Tuesday: “Iceland could become the first Western democracy to block all Internet porn under radical new proposals. … Two years ago, the Icelandic Parliament (successfully) banned all strip clubs on the grounds that they violated the civil rights of the women who worked there and were harmful to society. This argument — that porn violates the rights of both women who appear in it and children who are exposed to it — is the cornerstone of the new proposals under discussion."

In addition to its ban on strip clubs, the Nordic nation also already forbids the print publication of pornographic materials — but to date those anti-pornography laws have not been expanded to include the Internet.

On Wednesday, The London Telegraph reported, “Ogmundur Jonasson, Iceland's interior minister, is drafting legislation to stop the access of online pornographic images and videos by young people through computers, games consoles and smartphones. … Methods under consideration include blocking access to pornographic website addresses and making it illegal to use Icelandic credit cards to access pay-per-view pornography.”

Per the Huffington Post, Jonasson’s political adviser Halla Gunnarsdóttir told the Daily Mail, “If we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the Internet. … 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."

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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