Stifling under Mrs Grundy's petticoats?
Westminster’s ‘face-sitting’ legislation which forbids a whole slew of actions in UK commercial porn – including aggressive whipping, female ejaculation, urine ingestion and verbal abuse – is already in place and active. So might the Daily Telegraph’s video reportage of the mass face-sitting protest outside the Houses of Parliament yesterday be considered in contravention of new Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014?
At the Westminster protest yesterday Obscenity lawyer Miles Jackman pointed out the absurdity of new laws which criminalise the representation of activities that are legal to perform. “If it’s legal to do it, why can’t it be watched? This is, without a doubt, the first step in a concerted campaign for internet censorship and control by the state.”
How bizarre that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – which sounds like it should be a rather fun, cosmopolitan government department – should turn out to be the UK’s latest Mrs Grundy. And she’s one person we don’t need sitting on our collective face, whatever she says.
“The whole event was resoundingly British. It was cold, confused, deeply eccentric and broadly good-natured. The use of the face-sitting stunt pulled in more journalists than you’d ever see for a protest this size and in fact reporters and photographers easily outnumbered attendees.
The arguments against censorship were well made and favourably received by the press, for obvious reasons. Journalist are into free speech and most of them quite like porn too.
Now you get the sense that free speech issues around pornography are in the public consciousness as never before. Whatever else, that was not what they wanted when they passed the regulations. But whether the protest movement can continue, or whether it will be split by its own internal contradictions, remains to be seen.”
Ian Dunt and Nichi Hodgson were there and took the pictures.