Porn News

On DOJ’s New Porn Push

The following is a statement by Dan Panetti, vice president for legal and public policy of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families:

“The news is abuzz with the continual crackdown from the Department of Justice on the issue of obscenity. Not only has the DOJ brought in Bruce Taylor, formerly with the National Law Center, as an expert prosecutor to oversee and coordinate the efforts, but also the FBI has lent a handful of investigators to focus solely on the issue of obscenity. This attention to the obscenity issue has been lacking for over a decade and is causing mixed reactions across the country.

“From the pornographers standpoint, the issue moving from the back burner to the front has really turned up the heat — several cases have already been filed and many more are looming. The biggest question mark is will the DOJ prosecute a “mainstream” company like Comcast or Hilton hotels for their involvement in the distribution of and profit from hard-core pornographic material?

“Others across the country are simply questioning if the millions of dollars of human resources are worth the effort — will these prosecutions produce any tangible effect on our sex- saturated culture? And should we really care about what goes on in the privacy of a person’s bedroom? Only time will give us the answer to the first question. But if the Janet Jackson expose’ during the Super Bowl half-time show was offensive, the question must be addressed at the root of the issue. If prosecutors can’t go after hard-core material, society has no place to raise concerns about any material — whether on cable or broadcast television.

“To answer the second concern: whether we as a society should even be concerned about the issue of pornography, a person take a step back and take a good long look at our culture today and the messages it communicates on the issue of sexuality, relationships, and marriage. Right now, the issue of sexual ethics is the defining issue of the American social and moral fabric. Pornography communicates a very powerful message about sexuality that continues to promulgate the idea that sex is solely recreational, without consequences, void of emotional connection, intended only for the pleasure of the individual and is either unrelated or inhibited by the concepts of marriage and family. No wonder a generation that experienced the sexual revolution of the 60s is confused about such fundamental issues.

“There is another group of individuals who are greatly encouraged that society is finally turning significant attention to the important issue of sexual ethics. The issue of pornography is best addressed by our elected officials and the governmental bodies who have been established to produce and enforce guidelines or boundaries that seek to protect the interests of all. Obscenity, by definition, falls outside the protection of the free speech clause of First Amendment (which is not absolute). It is the responsibility of governmental bodies to enforce our laws relative to obscenity in order to provide clear lines of what is and what is not legal material.

“Many “mainstream” companies have pursued the allure of quick and easy profits from the formerly taboo world of pornography by offering pornographic selections via cable service or satellite service in homes and hotels. While a select few have either refused to offer these services in their particular chains or have removed these offerings (Omni Hotels), for the most part these companies would rather profit from porn than be responsible enough to refuse illicit programming.

“The verdict is still out, but at least the effort has begun. The federal government has taken significant steps to address an issue that for over a decade has been left to grow out-of- control. Now it appears that this wild plant may be pruned. Let’s hope so.”

 

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