Pornography and the Internet
Combative debate chaired by Michael Buerk examining the moral issues behind pornography and the internet. With Claire Fox, Melanie Phillips, Matthew Taylor and Giles Fraser.
The statistics on internet porn are eye-popping enough - it's claimed that 36% of internet content is pornography, with one in four queries to search engines being porn-related the online porn industry makes more than $3,000 a second. But if that isn't enough to convince you that pornography has long since abandoned the seedy confines of the top shelves and colonised mainstream media, then perhaps the fact that porn is to get an academic journal devoted to the study of the genre might. Concerns about the volume, nature and easy availability of porn have been growing for some time, but the recent trials of Stuart Hazell, convicted for killing 12-year-old Tia Sharp, and Mark Bridger for killing five year old April Jones have brought the issue in to sharp focus. Both men were found to have violent pornography on their computers and one of them was watching it just hours before he carried out the murder. This week the Culture Secretary Maria Millar and charities held a summit meeting with internet service providers demanding that they do something to reduce access to obscene images, especially by children. The "ban porn/don't ban porn" argument has raged, perhaps ever since the Lady Chatterley trail. Of course there are the issues of freedom of speech and censorship, but has technology changed so rapidly in recent years that the moral framework of the debate needs to be changed? Do we have the moral language to balance the right of consenting adults to watch other consenting adults having sex against the fact that such hardcore porn is so easily available and consumed, especially by adolescent boys? Is it the job of the state to police what goes online, or should parents be taking more care what their children are doing online? Is the normalisation of porn culture subtly damaging us all by commodifying and brutalising relationships - reducing them to animalistic couplings? Or is that being hopelessly romantic? Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Claire Fox, Melanie Phillips, Matthew Taylor and Giles Fraser. Witnesses: Jerry Barnett - Former Chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association, Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of Mothers' Union, Myles Jackman - Solicitor. Sexual freedom and obscenity specialist, Eleanor Mills - Sunday Times campaigning reporter.