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July 09, 2002 08:58pm
French Govt Considers Ban on X-Rated Films
Source: Reuters

(PARIS, FRANCE) -- X-rated films may be getting too accessible for official taste in France, where the new center-right government wants to review laws governing pornographic material on television, videos and Internet sites.

Christian Jacob, minister for family affairs, said on Tuesday the government was concerned that easy access to hard-core pornography on cable television was inciting teenagers to commit sex crimes.

France's audiovisual watchdog Csa last week recommended banning X-rated films even from encrypted cable channels, saying it had found that many youths had access to films officially banned for anyone under 18 years old despite encryption.

"We have to have a debate going beyond just pornography," Jacob told the Paris daily Le Monde. "We need a real debate about violence in the media because all these degrading images contribute to inciting youths to act."

French media have recently reported a growing number of sex crimes among youths, especially gang rapes by teenage boys who recent studies say act out on teenage girls the sex abuse scenes they see in pornographic films.

Discussion of the issue has been growing in France, especially among women politicians shocked by the indifference or contempt the gang rapists show for their victims.

The former family affairs minister, Socialist Segolene Royal, began campaigning to limit sexist images and violence against women in the media before the left-wing government was defeated in last month's elections.

"The Csa has shown that French television channels now broadcast a total of about 950 pornographic films per month," Jacob told Le Monde.

"How can you not be moved by the impact these films could have on the behavior of the young, especially since they often have access to them?" he asked.

Le Monde quoted Csa chairman Dominique Baudis as saying that cable channels planned to broadcast even more X-rated material in future and said he had discussed the issue with President Jacques Chirac.

"This is not about prudery or the moral order, it's about protecting minors," it quoted Baudis as saying.

"We have to have a broad debate on this issue which goes beyond television to include the Internet, advertisements, videos and DVDs," Jacob told Le Monde.

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