The Catholic Bishops of Australia have supported the move by Government to require internet pornography filters at internet service providers (ISPs) which will restrict access to sites containing extreme pornography.
The Bishops, at their plenary meeting in Sydney, noted that Senator Stephen Conroy has been criticised by some for what is described as censorship of the internet. Some have also compared this initiative to political censorship of the internet as practised in certain countries.
“Stopping extreme pornography being distributed via the net is hardly the same as censorship of ideas,” Archbishop Philip Wilson, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said.
“The Government already bans books, DVDs and other media containing extremely pornographic and violent images. It is illogical to then allow such material to be available via the internet,” Archbishop Wilson said.
“Pornography assaults our moral sense; degrades those involved in these industries and undermines marriage and family life. The Government should not bow to pressure from vested interests that make a lot of money from the pornography industry”, he said.
“Some argue that ISP filters degrade the performance of the internet but trials have shown that any degradation of performance is minimal. In any case, it is a small price to pay to protect children. Most businesses have ISPs that filter offensive material, and businesses operate successfully using these,” Archbishop Wilson said.
The Bishops congratulated the Government for its initiative and called upon the Government to implement the ISP filters without further delay. “The welfare of many is of much greater importance than the profits of a few”.