February 18, 2000 12:23pm
Sweden Worried About TV Violence
by: Kim Gamel
(STOCKHOLM, Sweden) -- Government officials in this country known for its sexual liberalism sat down Friday with television executives to examine whether too much violence is slipping into pornographic films shown on TV.
The issue made national headlines after Swedish television aired excerpts Tuesday of a documentary film called ``The Shocking Truth.'' The documentary revealed that some of the pornographic movies broadcast on Swedish cable television after midnight contain scenes depicting violent sex.
The film was also shown in the Riksdag, or parliament. It has led to calls to re-examine whether the law forbidding child pornography, violent pornography and threats of violent sexuality is enough.
Sweden, once seen as a bulwark of sexual liberalism, has clamped down in recent years on commercial and exploitative sex.
``I certainly don't think that Sweden should change their liberal views on sex, but I do think that ... we should demand a responsibility from the porno industry,'' said Lena Ag, spokeswoman for the women's caucus in the ruling Social Democratic party.
But government officials are treading carefully as they approach this Scandinavian country's highly prized freedom of speech laws.
``We are not discussing a ban on pornography, but we think it has gone too far,'' Culture Minister Marita Ulvskog said Friday after she met with executives of French-based Canal Plus, one of the cable television stations that features pornographic films.
Ulvskog declined to comment on what action the ministry would take. She said it would analyze television stations' policies and the law.
``They are sticking to the rules,'' she said. ``The problem is if the rules don't work.''
Canal Plus executives said they have policies against showing violence. They agreed to step up attempts to develop screening devices for parents who want to block their childrens' access to sexual programming.
``We are in agreement that it's much more about violence in pornography than pornography itself,'' Canal Plus chief executive Stefane France said. ``We are very keen to give our subscribers all the means to control what they see.''