Christian Engström, Pirat

15 mars 2013

The EU parliament (mostly) said no to a porn ban

Filed under: censur,English — Christian Engström @ 13:41

The European parliament’s vote earlier this week on a resolution that asked for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media was not entirely easy to interpret, but the most reasonable political interpretation is to say that the parliament said No to a ban on porn.

But let’s take a closer look at the different articles that the parliament voted on.

First, Article 14:

14. Points out that a policy to eliminate stereotypes in the media will of necessity involve action in the digital field; considers that this requires the launching of initiatives coordinated at EU level with a view to developing a genuine culture of equality on the internet; calls on the Commission to draw up in partnership with the parties concerned a charter to which all internet operators will be invited to adhere;

The parliament rejected this article completely, which is very good. If it had not, it would have called for turning the internet service providers into some kind of private ”porn police”, very much along the same lines as the ACTA treaty that wanted to turn them into a private file sharing police.

The rejection of this article was a clear and very important victory for free speech and information freedom.

Then, Article 19:

19. Calls on the Member States to establish independent regulation bodies with the aim of controlling the media and advertising industry and a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation of girls;

This article asked member states to establish regulation bodies with the aim of controlling the media and a mandate to impose sanctions on companies and individuals. That kind of mechanism has no place in a democratic society.

The rejection of this article as well was another clear victory for freedom of speech.

Finally, Article 17:

17. Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism

Here, the parliament rejected the second half of the article with the explicit call for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media, but kept the first part with the indirect reference to the resolution from 1997.

This is where it gets tricky and a bit ambiguous.

On the one hand, the parliament rejected the direct call for a ban. So far, so good. The parliament no longer highlights that particular article in the old resolution. If the highlighting had remained, it would have been clear that the parliament did in fact want a ban on porn in media, but it was taken away.

But on the other hand, Article 5 of the 1997 resolution still  contains a call for ”statutory measures to prevent any form of pornography in the media”, and the parliament expressed that it wanted that resolution implemented, without mentioning any exceptions.

So how should we interpret this?

The reasonable political interpretation is that the parliament does not want to ban pornography on the internet or in the media.

If this had been a legislative report, it would have been correct to say that the parliament wanted to ban porn in magazines, TV and DVDs. Legal texts are quite similar to computer code (although courts are quite different from computers), so in  that case an indirect reference would be just as strong as a direct mention of the porn ban.

But this is a political resolution where the parliament just expresses an opinion, and then it has to be read in a different way. From a political perspective, the important thing is that the parliament actively removed the wording ”a ban on all forms of pornography in the media” (and remove all the sharp proposals on how to enforce it). If the majority had in fact been in favour of a ban, it would have had no reason to do this. Since it did, the only reasonable conclusion is that the majority of members didn’t want a ban.

This is a victory, and that’s what counts in the political landscape in Brussels.

Thank you, all activists who contributed by sending emails to MEPs or in other ways!

…………

Republished at Falkvinge on Infopolicy

Others on the topic: TechEye

13 mars 2013

Tal i EU-parlamentet: ”Jag ser inget negativt med pornografi”

Filed under: censur — Christian Engström @ 19:08
Se mitt tal i EU-parlamentet (1 min)

Se mitt tal i EU-parlamentet (1 min)

I måndags debatterade EU-parlamentet rapporten ”Avskaffande av könsstereotyper i EU”. Jag fick en minuts talartid och sa så här:

Herr talman! Jag håller helt med rapportören fru Liotard om att gammaldags och omoderna könsstereotyper är något dåligt som borde elimineras, eftersom de låser fast både män och kvinnor i roller som kanske inte passar just dem som individer. Målet måste vara ett samhälle där varje individ är fri att vara sig själv, vare sig hon är man eller kvinna.

Men jag kommer ändå att rösta nej till rapporten på grund av dess innehåll. I artikel 17 ber man om ett förbud mot all form av pornografi i media. Det tycker inte jag är acceptabelt. Jag ser inget negativt med pornografi. Det är en populär form av underhållning och det ska var och en vara fri att bestämma själv.

Ännu värre blir det om man tittar på artikel 14, som säger hur det ska förbjudas. Det är internetoperatörerna som ska tvingas eller pressas eller uppmanas att skriva på en ”frivillig” stadga. Det är precis samma mekanism som i Acta-avtalet som parlamentet sade nej till. Vi bör säga nej också till den här resolutionen också, fastän målet med den är gott.

Omröstningen i plenum hölls i tisdags, och för att göra en lång historia kort så vann vi i huvudsak.

Vi stoppade förslagen om att internetleverantörerna skulle bli porrpoliser och att det skulle inrättas myndigheter med rätt att övervaka och bestraffa media. Rent tekniskt blev den antagna resolutionen delvis otydlig, men den rimliga politiska tolkningen är nog att EU-parlamentet sa nej till tanken att försöka förbjuda porr.

Tack alla som mejlade ledamöter i EU-parlamentet i frågan, eller hjälpte till att uppmärksamma den på andra sätt. Det var det som ledde till den här politiska framgången. Aktivism gör skillnad.

12 mars 2013

Otydligt om porrförbud i EU

Filed under: censur — Christian Engström @ 15:34

Pressmeddelande från Piratpartiet:

På tisdagen uttryckte Europaparlamentet sitt stöd för en resolution om att förbjuda all slags porr i media.

– Detta är oacceptabelt vad gäller viktiga demokratiska värden som yttrandefrihet och tryckfrihet, säger Christian Engström som är ledamot av Europaparlamentet för Piratpartiet.

Det märkliga är att Europaparlamentet beslutade att stödja den tidigare resolutionen (A4-0258/97) om att bland annat förbjuda all slags porr i media – och samtidigt att stryka de ord i dagens resolution som förklarade att det är just det man gör.

– Det här är nipprigt. Det avgörande är ju vad man har beslutat i sak, nämligen att stödja en resolution som bland annat vill förbjuda porr i media. Att stryka de delar av texten som förklarar vad man gjort, det ändrar inget i sak. Det är bara att försöka vilseleda medborgare och media, säger Christian Engström.

– Den goda nyheten är att de delar av resolutionen som ville reglera internet och media ur ett könsperspektiv föll. Det får ses som ett resultat av att Piratpartiet lyft fram det problematiska med dessa förslag. Nu slipper internetoperatörerna bli porrpoliser, säger Christian Engström.

Dagens resolution är inte lagstiftning, utan en så kallad inititivrapport. Vilket innebär att det är en uppmaning till EU-kommissionen (som är den enda institution i EU som har initiativrätt) att lägga fram lagförslag i linje med dagens beslut.

– Vi får hoppas att EU-kommissionen inser det orimliga i det beslut som har fattats i dag och därför avstår från att gå vidare med dessa frågor, avslutar Christian Engström.

9 mars 2013

Christian Engström (PP): ”Sex är inte något förnedrande”

Filed under: censur — Christian Engström @ 15:38
Läs artikeln hos DN

Läs artikeln hos DN

DN skriver om #mepblock-affären, alltså att Europaparlamentet överväger att uttala sig för ett generellt porrförbud, och dessutom har lagt in ett filter som sorterar bort mail från medborgare som vill uttrycka sin mening om rapporten ”Avskaffande av könsstereotyper i EU” där uttalandet om porrförbud finns.

Jag är citerad i artikeln, och får bland annat frågan:

Anser du inte att porr är objektifierande och förnedrande?

– Sex är inte något förnedrande. Jag kan inte heller se att det är något fel om samtyckande vuxna har sex med varandra, säger Christian Engström.

Han påpekar att det är människors rätt till privatliv som ligger Piratpartiet ”varmare om hjärtat” än produktionen och konsumtionen av pornografi. Christian Engström nämner Europeiska konventionen om skydd för de mänskliga rättigheterna.

– Artikel 8 säger att alla har rätt till skydd för sitt privat- och familjeliv, sitt hem och sin korrespondens.

Läs mer hos DN

…………

Uppdatering: Anna Troberg skriver klokt och resonerande: Det föreslagna porrförbudet handlar inte om porr

6 mars 2013

An EU proposal to ban porn through ”self-regulation”

Filed under: censur,English — Christian Engström @ 15:22

Next week in Strasbourg, probably on Tuesday, the European Parliament will be voting on a Report on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU. To promote gender equality and eliminating gender stereotypes are of course very laudable goals, so my guess would be that unless something happens, the report will be approved by the parliament, possibly by a very large majority.

But as always, the devil is in the detail.

Article 17 of the report says (with emphasis added):

17. Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism;

The resolution of 16 September 1997 in turn said:

5. Calls for statutory measures to prevent any form of pornography in the media and in advertising and for a ban on advertising for pornographic products and sex tourism;

To a certain extent, the exact meaning on this proposed ban on pornography is unclear, since neither the 1997 resolution nor the text we will be voting on next week contains any definition of what is meant by ”in the media”.

Magazines and cable television would presumably be considered to be ”media” by most people, but what about the internet? Without any definition of ”media” in either of the two resolutions, the answer is not obvious from reading just those two articles, at least not to me.

But the resolution we will be voting on next week has other things to say about the internet. Article 14 reads (again with my highlighting):

14. Points out that a policy to eliminate stereotypes in the media will of necessity involve action in the digital field; considers that this requires the launching of initiatives coordinated at EU level with a view to developing a genuine culture of equality on the internet; calls on the Commission to draw up in partnership with the parties concerned a charter to which all internet operators will be invited to adhere;

This is quite clearly yet another attempt to get the internet service providers to start policing what citizens do on the internet, not by legislation, but by ”self-regulation”. This is something we have seen before in a number of different proposals, and which is one of the big threats against information freedom in our society.

The digital rights organisation EDRI has produced a booklet called The slide from ”self-regulation” to corporate censorship, where they point out that:

…now, increasing coercion of internet intermediaries to police and punish their own consumers is being implemented under the flag of “self-regulation” even though it is not regulation – it is policing – and it is not “self-” because it is their consumers and not themselves that are being policed.

In the battle against the ACTA treaty, the fact that ACTA contained similar ”self-regulation” proposals to get internet service providers to start policing their customers was one of the reasons why the European Parliament rejected the treaty in the end.

Many members of the parliament (including me) felt and feel that this kind of ”self-regulation” is nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the article on information freedom in the European Convention on Human rights, which says that everyone has the right to receive and impart information without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers, and that any restrictions to this right have to be prescribed by law and be necessary in a democratic society.

Next week’s resolution is a so-called ”own initiative report” by the parliament. This means that it does not automatically become law even if it is adopted, but is just a way for the European parliament to express its opinion.

But the purpose of these own initiative reports is to serve as the basis for the Commission when it decides to present legislative proposals to the parliament. If this own initiative report is adopted by the parliament, it will strengthen the Commission’s position if and when it wants to propose various ”self-regulation” schemes in the future.

Although I completely agree that eliminating outdated gender stereotypes in the EU is a worthwhile goal, I will be voting against this resolution next week.

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