France Considering a Ban on TV Pornography

Danger to Children Cited

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PARIS, NOV. 5, 2002 ( Government regulators in France are pushing a plan to ban pornography from public television channels.

Since July, the Audio-Visual Higher Council (CSA) has promoted a campaign against pornography. CSA has the power to impose sanctions, and has taken its initiative to the National Assembly, the French Parliament.

About 100 deputies of the Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP), the new political formation led by Jacques Chirac, support the anti-pornography campaign. The center-right representatives in the legislative chamber propose toughening the 1986 legislation which was revised in 2000.

Socialist Segolene Royal, the previous Minister of the Family, already warned about the psychological impact of pornography on children.

CSA President Dominique Baudis has called on the government and Parliament to insert explicitly in French law a European directive on «television without borders.» Observers fear that pornography could spread with the growth of digital TV.

The European normative on television without borders commits states to block gratuitous violence or pornography in TV that can harm children. CSA estimates that last year about 600,000 children had access to X-rated films aired weekly by Channel-plus. Of the children who could watch it, 150,000 were younger than 11.

And that trend is growing, warns CSA. In the first half of this year, eight out of 80 licensed networks showed a total of 160 pornographic films, CSA says.

There is even an exclusively pornographic network («XXL,» of the AB Group), with 1.2 million subscribers — one out of every 50 Frenchmen.

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