I have commented on this issue before back in August in a post entitled Banning violent pornography - should it be done? It does seem to me that this is an issue, no matter how hard it may be to do so, which we as Liberals should take a stance on. In my previous post I made clear that there were two important criteria to consider here. Firstly should we be banning anything particularly where it involves consensual activities? and secondly even if we were to ban such things would it solve the problem?
Backlash states on its website very clearly why it is opposed to the proposed law.
It is worth considering these points one by one
1) The Home Office admits in its consultation document that there is no evidence that demonstrates a link between the type of material under discussion and unlawful activity. We agree.
This proposed law is a knee jerk response to the very tragic murder of Liz Longhursts daughter. Will this law prevent violent murders such as that perpetuated upon Liz Longhursts daughter? I don't believe so. Neither did the Whiskey Priest in an excellent piece which can be found here where he said "Ban violent pornography and deaths won't suddenly stop, they might change in character, the people perpetrating them might use different methods, but they won't stop because it's not the pornography that is making them do it - it's something else. It's something that isn't present in the other people that watch violent pornography and don't go and murder people - and we should find out what that is and tackle it."
2) It does not propose to punish the acts themselves, but wishes to make the simple possession of images of certain sexual fantasies subject to a maximum term of 3 years imprisonment. It will deny people the right to make up their own minds about what is acceptable.
Absolutely - people should be able to make up their minds about what they wish to view and not view. The state can and should legislate against activities which are not consensual such as murder and rape or activities where it is reasonable to assume that not all parties can give their consent such as under age sex or bestiality. It is not reasonable to legislate against consensual activities.
3) What consenting adults look at or do in their own homes is not any concern of the State. These proposals would infringe the civil liberties and protected freedoms of law-abiding people.
4) Law enforcement agencies around the world already have powers to prevent and punish actual crimes that have taken place through existing legislation. We condemn any acts where the participants did not give their consent. Viewers should not be penalised for looking at fantasy images of consenting actors.
Absolutely and we have to consider what it is we want our law enforcement agencies to do with their limited resources. Chase down people who have pictures of consensual activities or catch murderers, rapists and paedophiles. I know which one I would pick.
5) The consultation document suggests that banning the possession of such images might have an appreciable effect on supply or demand but fails to advance any arguments or evidence that this is so. We believe that the evidence is to the contrary. Imprisonment of those who look at such images will not remove the images from the internet nor protect children from them.
I am not sure about this one but I guess that like most things if you ban something you immediately create a market for it. Think prohibition in the United States or indeed drugs in the UK at present.
6) We believe that adults can make up their own minds about what they view in private, even if those things may be distasteful to others. Backlash urges anyone who thinks that it is not the business of the state to criminalise the possession of images that the government considers to be "abhorrent", to contact their MP, stating their objections to these proposals.
Seems fair to me and as Liberals we ought to be opposing this erosion of Liberty