Strasbourg, 29 November 2011





Comments by the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC) on Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1981 (2011) on violent pornography

    1. The CDMC welcomes the Recommendation 1981 (2011) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on violent and extreme pornography and shares its concern at the public’s increased accessibility, especially via the Internet, to violent and extreme pornographic material.

    2. The CDMC shares its concerns on the negative impact of violent and extreme pornography on women’s dignity and their right to live free from sexual violence. Furthermore, children need to be protected against exposure to violent and extreme pornography. The CDMC recalls the CM/Rec (2009)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and promote their active participation in the new information and communication environment according to which « states have the right, and even an obligation, to protect children from content which is unsuitable or inappropriate ». The CDMC also recalls the Human rights guidelines for online game providers developed by the Council of Europe in co-operation with the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, Recommendation N° R (97) 19 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the portrayal of violence in electronic media, Recommendation N° R (89) 7 of the Committee of MInisters to member states concerning principles on the distribution of videograms having a violent, brutal or pornographic content.

    3. The legislation and regulations relating to violent and extreme pornography should be in line with Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights and the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It should be nonetheless borne in mind that according to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights case law the freedom of expression extends to the right to offend, shock and disturb. However, as provided for by Article 10 paragraph 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights freedom of expression can be limited when prescribed by law and are necessary in the interest of, amongst others, the prevention of crime, the protection of morals, and the protection the rights of the others.
    4. The Parliamentary Assembly recommends that a comparative study on the law and regulations applying to forms of violent and extreme pornography in member states be carried out and, on this basis, consider whether there is scope for a more harmonised approach, in particular as regards responses to the distribution of violent and extreme pornographic material on the Internet. The CDMC is of the opinion that the harmonised approach should focus on the regulations and practices relating international co-operation of law enforcement bodies and judicial co-operation in cases where sites should be shut down.

    5. Regarding the study on the feasibility of a common system of classification and content descriptors for labelling the content of audiovisual works, the CDMC is of the opinion that a study of the existing systems and examination of possible improvements be evisaged.