More robust action needed to combat impact of porn – Lockhart

More robust action needed to combat impact of porn – Lockhart

Paul Girvan MP, Lord Morrow, Ross Hendry (Chief Exec of CARE), Carla Lockhart MP

Staff Reporter

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Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has tabled a number of amendments to the Online Safety Bill, aimed at combatting the ongoing detrimental of pornography on society.

Speaking in Westminster after a number of meetings with MPs on the matter, Carla Lockhart said:

“The Online Safety Bill provides a great opportunity to make the internet a much safer place for everyone, not least our young people.

"One such area the Bill must address is the ongoing harm caused by pornography. Key to this will be legislative provision in the area of age verification. Under the terms of the Bill. It could be 2025 before children are protected through age verification. Even if the Bill becomes law, there is still no certainty that the Government will commence the provisions. It simply cannot be left to the Secretary of State in 2025 to move secondary legislation to give effect to age verification. A commencement clause needs to be placed in the Bill. Children deserve the right to know that this Government will act for them this time.

"If a website, part of a website or social media platform hosts or provides pornographic content, a person’s age should be verified before access. If a child went into a newsagents to attempt to buy a pornographic magazine, they would be challenged by the shopkeeper. This goes back to the cornerstone of this issue: illegal offline should mean illegal online.

"I will continue to work with MPs of like mind to progress the legislative framework concerning pornography within the Online Safety Bill. The Government has stated this Bill is aimed at making the UK the safest place to access the internet – to achieve this the Bill needs strengthened and my amendments are aimed at doing that.”

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