March 03, 2000 07:16am
Poland OKs Total Pornography Ban
(WARSAW, Poland) -- Poland's parliament narrowly approved a ban on all pornography Friday in what would be one of Europe's toughest anti-porn laws if it is allowed to take effect.
The bill, backed by conservatives in the governing Solidarity party and the Roman Catholic Church, would ban the import, distribution and sale of pornography. It passed the Sejm, parliament's lower house, by 210 votes to 197, with 19 abstentions.
The measure was opposed by leftists and the liberal Freedom Union, Solidarity's junior coalition partner. It still must be approved by President Alexander Kwasniewski, an ex-communist whose leftist allies in the parliament say he is likely to veto it.
The measure would allow courts to impose fines and prison terms of up to two years on violators. In cases involving child pornography, five-year prison terms could be imposed.
The measure reflects concern of conservatives and church leaders about a thriving pornography and sex industry that has emerged in the liberal atmosphere that followed the collapse of communist rule in 1989.
Opponents contend the bill goes overboard in limiting freedom of expression and would spawn a thriving black market in pornographic videos, films and magazines.
The Freedom Union party also argued that the measure would be impossible to enforce because its provisions do not specifically define what constitutes pornography.