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Pornography, Media Law on

Jeremy Harris Lipschultz


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Pornography or “porn” is a socially defined class of sexual communication, which may or may not be protected under evolving national and international laws. The term may be distinguishable from legal definitions of obscenity or indecency. Pornography is generally considered the depiction of graphic sexual behavior usually designed to promote sexual arousal. Pornographic material may be either legal erotica or illegal obscenity. Many have questioned the validity of the distinction between erotica and pornography, the latter being a pejorative and subjective term. Regulation of sexual expression varies from society to society and is in flux, as courts address emerging technologies and issues. As the Statement on Freedom of Expression for the Commonwealth notes, “The law with respect to obscenity and pornography must arise from, and respect the values of, the society in which it operates. States have a special responsibility for eliminating child pornography” (→ Morality and Taste in Media Content ). At the same time, however, lesser forms of pornography may enjoy some rights under free expression and the international principles of human rights. Pornography has been in existence for centuries. Some of the earliest cave paintings, sculpture, and pottery discovered by archaeologists contain sexual references. “Pornography” is a word first found in the writing of the Greeks in relation ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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