January 5, 2009

China to be commended for cracking down on pornography, but not for cracking down on political speech


NEW YORK (Jan. 5, 2009) – According to news sources, on Monday China launched a crackdown on Internet pornography, targeting online portals and search engines such as Google.  According to a statement issued by NPR, “The crackdown focused on pornography but is part of a larger Chinese effort to control freedom of expression…”

Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, issued the following statement:

China is to be commended for cracking down on Internet pornography.  As the U.S. Supreme Court put it in a 1973 obscenity case, Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 34-35:

“[T]o equate the free and robust exchange of ideas and political debate with commercial exploitation of obscene material demeans the grand conception of the First Amendment and its high purposes in the historic struggle for freedom. It is a ‘misuse of the great guarantees of free speech and free press’…The First Amendment protects works which, taken as a whole, have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value, regardless of whether the government or a majority of the people approve of the ideas these works represent. ‘The protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people’…But the public portrayal of hard-core sexual conduct for its own sake, and for the ensuing commercial gain, is a different matter.”

A small but influential minority of moral anarchists in the U.S. and abroad push the view that all pornography should be protected from government interference, but most people understand the difference between a discussion or debate about pornography (which is protected speech in the U.S. and should be in China) and the depiction of sex acts for the purpose of arousing viewers.

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center (“Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007”), 70% of adult Americans disagreed with the statement that “nude pictures and X-rated videos on the Internet provide harmless entertainment for those who enjoy it.”  According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive in 2006, 73% of adults disagreed with the statement that viewing pornographic videos and websites is “morally acceptable.”

Viewing pornography has become an addiction for countless individuals of all ages.  The harms resulting include psychological damage to children, sexual exploitation of children, ruination of marriages, spread of sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assaults, and sexual trafficking.

Headquartered in New York City, MORALITY IN MEDIA works through constitutional means to curb traffic in illegal obscenity. 

Author: MIM   01/05/2009

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