Feeds

Ukraine slaps ban on all porn

Unless you're sick: Then it's OK

The Power of One Infographic

Opinion Porn is now illegal in the Ukraine, unless used for medicinal purposes. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko last week signed off on new legislation joining the Ukraine to an ever-lengthening list of countries that have decided to move the censorship goalposts over the last few years, from publication of porn on to simple possession of it.

Ironically, the world may have a bizarre coalition of puritan New Labour and evangeligising Americans to thank for this giant leap forward for moral mankind.

On June 11, the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) made possession of pornography – not extreme porn, but ANY porn – a criminal offence. It will be punishable by a fine of 850 hryvnia - which our currency converter helpfully reveals is approximately 69 British pounds - or up to three years in prison. As in the UK, this is a significant shift in the law, which previously only concerned itself with those who produced or distributed pornography.

The problem with this legislation is that the only available definition of porn comes from 2003 legislation, which states, according to the English language version of the Kyev Times:

"Pornography is vulgar, candid, cynical, obscene depiction of sexual acts, pursuing no other goal, the explicit demonstration of genitals, unethical elements of the sexual act, sexual perversions, realistic sketches that do not meet moral criteria and offend honour and dignity of the human by inciting low instincts."

It is not clear whether this is a literal translation of confused law – or an attack of "Babel-itis" on the part of that paper.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Ministry of Justice appears to have complicated the legislation even further by conceding that porn may be retained "for medicinal purposes".

So is this all homegrown? Or is there a wider agenda at work here? Is it mere co-incidence that highly moralistic legislation – on porn and prostitution, for instance - appears to be springing up simultaneously in widely differing countries?

Researchers in the field of sexual relations have complained for some time that the Bush era meant it was impossible to pursue any research – even in the UK - that failed to address issues in ways that aligned with the fairly narrow moral agenda of US neo-conservatives.

Back in the UK, in May 2004, Labour MP David Lepper boasted in parliament of how he and a number of fellow MP’s, concerned by the Graham Coutts case, had put forward a five-point plan to Ministers for controlling extreme porn. The five points were:

  • Persuading internet service providers, search engine companies and web hosting companies to block access to extreme porn
  • Criminalising the possession of extreme porn
  • Better international co-operation in dealing with extreme images on the internet
  • A souped up role for Ofcom
  • Requiring credit card companies to put a financial squeeze on the providers of extreme images

This plan was received favourably by then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, who raised it in discussion with his counterparts in the United States. The same issues were then raised with countries in the G8 and Europe.

Whilst few countries have put in place all of the above measures, it almost certainly is no co-incidence that many have adopted several of them over the last few years, either following direct representation, or in an effort to curry favour with the West.

Ukrainian moralising may therefore be of a home grown variety, or it may just be the latest example of "me too" bandwagon-jumping. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.