Posts Tagged 'porn'

Egypt bans porn sites

Yesterday’s decision by one of Egypt’s highest courts to ban porn sites is yet another example of the government’s losing battle to control the thoughts and actions of its people. arabicporn

The Administrative Court, based in Cairo, has ordered the government to block the sites in response to a case brought by Muslim lawyer Nizar Ghorab, who filed the case under his own initiative.

He welcomed the decision today, saying: “Thank God we won. Now the government should stop these electronic dens of vice immediately.”

Arguing in court, Ghorab cited the case of a senior civil servant and his wife who were arrested last year for holding “swinger” parties after soliciting other parties over the internet.

Although the decision can be appealed to a higher court, Ghorab believes that this is unlikely as it would put the government in the uncomfortable position of being seen to protect pornography.

“Freedoms of expression and public rights should be restricted by maintaining the fundamentals of religion, morality and patriotism,” the AFP news agency quoted the court as saying in its ruling.

Freedom of speech has long been under fire in Egypt. The country has been held in a state of perpetual emergency rule since President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party came to power in 1981. An estimated 18,000 people are in prison under Egyptian law, which allows police to arrest people without charge, while media organisations are kept firmly under the yoke of state control.

This curtailment of civil freedoms on the street has led many young Egyptians to turn to the virtual highway. According to government figures from 2007, Egypt has around 12m internet users, one in nine of the country’s population, making it the largest online presence of all the Arab nations.

080729%20egyptNine per cent of this – around 800,000 people – use the social networking site Facebook, which has become a powerful voice for the country’s youthful population. Epitomised in the April 6 Youth Movement, a political group created during last year’s protests which now has more than 700,000 members, social networks are taking on a political face.

Within hours of the first bombings of Gaza by Israel in January, around 2,000 people had organised a n ad hoc demonstration using Facebook and taken to the streets, many of them voicing their anger at their own government for what they saw as collusion with Israel.

In this light, the Egyptian court’s ruling to try to censor the internet is a cynical and hollow attempt to extend its waning power to the untapped domain of the internet. Pornography may often typify the exploitation of society’s most vulnerable and expolited, yet it also represents  the power of freedom of expression in the face of moral censure from mainstream society.

Love it or loathe it, porn is a barometer to a country’s politics. And the more the Egyptian government tries to restrict the freedoms of its people in the name of “religion, morality and patriotism,” the closer it will come to its own demise.

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Sex, laws and video tape

Yesterday, porn protestors descended on Parliament in what must be the most impressive array of PVC I have ever seen.

Models dressed in gags and chains held up traffic as they paraded around Westminster in a protest against the Justice & Immigration Act (2008), due to come into force in January 2009. This law will make it illegal to possess or disseminate any image in which there is a perceived threat to a person’s body or life for the sake of sexual titillation.

Ben Westwood – Dame Vivienne’s son – whose book of “extreme” photography Fuck Fashion may be banned under the new laws, has taken a stand against the government. He is joined by the singer Gwen Stefani and the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese.

He writes: ”The way I see it, some people like it and some people don’t. In my opinion S&M is just harmless fun. There is no anger or violence involved.”

Campaigners argue that the new law will criminalize thousands of relationships in which people use hardcore porn consensually in the privacy of their own home. Yet only last month, Max Mosley, the bête noir of the tabloids, was paid out a record £60,000 settlement in a libel case that may challenge EU legislation.

Mosley was famously outed as an S&M connoisseur by a video published by News of the World showing him being shaved and beaten by five women. In the judgement, which has caused equal outrage and smug applause among the British media, the Honourable Mr Justice Eady said:

“It is not for journalists to undermine human rights, or for judges to refuse to enforce them, merely on grounds of taste or moral disapproval.”

It’s a “matter of principle”, says Mosley in an interview with the Guardian, that people “whose sex life isn’t quite the same as the majority” should be entitled to do what they want in the privacy of their own home “as long as everybody involved is genuinely consensual, properly consensual, not just doing it for money or whatever”.

It is not the job of the law to engage in a “moral crusade” against what people do in their private lives, however bizarre or intriguing we may find them. Whatever scrutiny we subject ourselves to outside, we should be able to hope that behind at least one closed door, Big Brother isn’t watching us.


September 2017
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