Should prostitution ads be banned from mainstream Spanish press?
The Spanish government provoked the ire of the national newspapers when it announced a plan to ban adverts offering sexual services from their classified section.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero said that "as long as these advertisements exist, they contribute to the idea of this activity as normal"
The adverts include not only telephone numbers and prices, but explicit descriptions of services on offer, with attention grabbing headlines such as "unforgettable girls" and "generous breasts."
The reaction from the Association of Spanish Newspaper Editors was prompt. "if it was illegal, then newspapers wouldn't carry the ads" said the spokesperson for the association.
Women associations like Federacion de Mujeres Progresistas, (progressive women association) have been extremely critical of the newspapers' attitude. "No media outlet can proclaim itself a defender of human rights when it publishes this kind of advertising, which makes them directly complicit in this type of slavery" she said.
Sex adverts constitute a significant source of income for the Spanish press, and newspapers are fearing a further drop in their already diminishing advertising revenues.
Spain is the only European country where broadsheet newspapers carries advertisements for sex. With the migration of most classified advertising to the internet, prostitution now accounts for 60 percent of the Spanish classified ad market.