REX/Andrew Price
Share

Bishop calls for 'culture change' on pornography

Wed 12 Dec 2018
By Marcus Jones

The Bishop of Chester has raised concerns over new laws looking to block the access of children to online pornography.

Rt Rev Peter Forster, who's sitting in the House of Lords this week, is worried the proposals don't go far enough.

 

It's been confirmed age checks will not apply to all online pornography fuelling fears at Westminster that children will still stumble across explicit content.

The verification regime aimed at denying access to under-18s, due to come into force next Easter, will not cover social media sites, such as Twitter, which could host user-generated adult material.

Free sites, where pornography makes up less than a third of overall content, will also be exempt, peers heard.

The House of Lords were debating regulations that will introduce the first system of its kind in the world, requiring commercial pornographic websites to have "robust age verification controls" in place to prevent children accessing explicit material.

REX/Image Broker

 

But a number of members raised concerns over the limitations of the scheme and the Government has conceded it is "not a complete answer" to the problem.

Speaking in the debate, the bishop said: "My main concern is in relation to access to pornography on websites which don't charge for access.

"Provided their pornographic content is limited to one third of their total content, they are exempted from these regulations."

He said: "What's the rationale for choosing one third and not, say, 10%?

"Parents really don't want their children to stumble across online pornography and arguably children are more likely to stumble across it if it is a website that doesn't charge in the first place."

The bishop added: "I realise that enforcement against every site would be a challenge, but surely the obligation to use access by age verification should be upon all sites which promote pornography.

"What we need is a culture change in relation to child protection, not a partial and piecemeal and limited approach, which I fear these regulations in some respects have."

(Additional reporting from Press Association)

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Daily news direct to your inbox
Your News Feed

Stay informed and inform others with up to the minute news from a Christian perspective. 

Daily News email

RSS feeds

News Widgets

You may also like...

Rt Rev Mark Rylands, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, has announced... More

A number of Anglican bishops have written a letter calling on... More

The Bishop of Salisbury is to take part in a special service... More