NORWAY—With parliamentary elections slated for 2013, Norway’s political parties are staking out positions on a range of subjects, including access to online pornography. Yesterday, VG reported that the country’s Christian Democratic Party has come out in support of policies that would require mobile carriers and internet service providers to offer free parental filters to parents. The model would be based on a similar one being pursued by the United Kingdom, though in truth the Brits have yet to decide exactly how insistent they are going to be that parents use the filters, with Prime Minster David Cameron recently espousing a policy that would essentially force parents to install them.
The Norwegians do not seem to be interested in going that far, however, and instead are focused on more opt-in friendly solutions that would mandate that parents be presented with parental filtering options without actually being forced to use them. The issue is not of minimal concern to the country whose children, according to a 2011 study, lead Europe in accessing porn online and also in general.
That fact was the justification put forward by Christian Democratic Party spokesperson Kjell Ingolf Ropstad for the party’s position. Other political parties queried on the subject supported the promotion of filters while reiterating positions that promote parental responsibility as the first line of defense while discouraging governmental intervention.
Conservative Party spokesperson André Oktay Dahl said parental filters is not a political issue, but one for families to address, and added he is more “keen to fight child abuse online” than tackle abuse of porn, which he said was not as widespread a problem. Labour Party politician Jan Bøhler expressed his party’s support for filters, which he said would be more effective placed on devices, but also argued against moves by the government to block content, saying, “We cannot censor the entire world.”
In 2005, by the way, Norway’s Supreme Court upheld “lower court decisions compensating two Norwegian men who were fired from their jobs when they were caught surfing pornographic websites at work.”