In the more mainstream video market,
Virgin seem to be doing quite well even though they have $ky Movies as
competition. In general the more people that can be brought into a
commercial genre, the better for everyone.
The Adult Industries Trade Association (AITA) response to Ofcom’s
broadcasting standards consultation was published on Ofcom’s website
AITA’s claims to represent the interests of the “adult industry” to the
Government, regulators and the media are false. They represent predominantly
the interests of sex shop owner’s.
AITA provide three reasons why R18 should not be broadcast. Firstly they
claim that the Video Recordings Act restricts the sale of R18 “movies” to
licensed sex shops. This claim is also false. The VRA prohibits the sale of
R18 video works and does not apply to broadcasting.
Secondly AITA claim that R18 content is too harmful to children to be
permitted to be shown on television in the home even on late night PIN
protected encrypted adult services.
If AITA’s claim is true (many of those on the Christian right would whole
heartedly agree) and R18 content is really so dangerous to children then the
question must be asked is R18 is in fact so dangerous that it shouldn’t
really be available anywhere (not even from sex shops)?
The very reason why sex shops are permitted to sell hardcore content on
R18 certificate at all is because there is no evidence that such material
causes any harm to anyone as became evident when the matter went to court
back in 2000. In much of continental Europe R18 equivalent content is
considered harmless enough to be sold in petrol stations and news agents.
As with all things there must be a measure of proportionality in these
matters. R18 content is not suitable for children and they should be
protected from it, but the dangers of R18 material have been grossly
exaggerated by those with ulterior motives, such as the Christian right (in
order to force their views of morality on the rest of society) and AITA (to
protect their near monopoly on the sale of R18 content).
The question must be asked what happens to an R18 video once it has been
sold to an adult in a licensed sex shop? The answer is that the adult takes
it back to his or her home where there is absolutely nothing to physically
stop that adult from giving the R18 video to a child.
AITA’s final claim that broadcasters would have an unfair advantage over
Sex shop owners is the only one that makes any sense, but to argue for
continued restrictions to protect businesses from unfair and outdated
legislation and maintain a near monopoly is to put the cart before the
horse. The way forward is to remove the outdated legislation and create a
level playing field for the benefit of all rather than encouraging
restrictive practices for the benefit of sex shop owners and the council
If AITA wish to be taken seriously as the representatives of the Adult
industry then they would do well to represent the adult industry.