Thursday, 5 June 2014

Small contributions make big changes

Interesting news from Venezuela this week: The Supreme Court has instituted a ban on pornographic and other sexual content in the nation's media.

The court ordered "the elimination of all images of explicit or implicit sexual content in advertisements in print media of open access to girls, boys and teens."  This also applies to ads which promote services "linked to the exploitation of sex," such as phone sex lines placed in general access media, newspapers, and hoardings.

This ruling came in a case filed by a citizen "representing his underage children" who wanted to end "pornographic ads in newspapers and magazines for the general public" because exposure to such material encouraged the sexualisation of children.

The Court also called on Venezuela's Telecommunications Commission to monitor the content of songs of all music genres to make sure they are "acceptable for all users," and that if necessary songs with questionable lyrics are reserved for hours when children will not be likely to be exposed to them. 

The ruling reiterated the Venezuelan Constitution's provision for freedom of expression, but affirmed that respecting the rights of children is one of the "intrinsic limits of freedom of expression" and that the media must use its right to free expression in a way that contributes to the culture and the developmental rights of the general population as established by the Venezuelan Constitution.

Regardless of the wider political issues in Venezuela, this ruling will have a positive impact on children growing up there and it has come about because one father decided to act.  It’s an illustration of how the actions of individuals can be the catalyst for big changes.   We recently learned that in the UK the Co-op will now be displaying the Sun newspaper on the top shelf of its stores for as long as the paper continues to print soft-porn on page 3.  This is as a result of lots of individual Co-op members in the regions voting for responsible displays.

Small contributions can make big changes or, in the words of one supermarket, ‘every little helps’.  Thank you for making a difference!

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