Britain May Criminalize Violent Pornography

In Britain, a proposed law would criminalize the possession of extreme and violent pornography. The proposal was in reaction to a 30-month campaign by Liz Longhurst, a woman whose daughter was strangled by a man who admitted to an obsession with violent Internet pornography. Longhurst collected 50,000 signatures that would make the possession of violent images (including internet and digital images) illegal. Currently, British laws criminalize the distribution and publication of material considered obscene, but online materials are not covered.

As with many censorship laws, the lines are unclear as to what is to be considered extreme and violent. According to the Belfast Telegraph, the laws would apply to pornography that features “violence that is, or appears to be, life threatening or is likely to result in serious disabling injury.” The law, however, would not apply to people who happened across such images nor affect the mainstream entertainment industry’s obscenity laws, BBC reports.

The proposed law must still be approved by Parliament, which is currently out of session until October.


Associated Press 8/30/2006; BBC 8/30/2006; Belfast Telegraph 9/1/2006

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