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UK News

Christian charity says 'pressure is growing on the government to act' as new poll finds 8 in 10 people back mandatory age checks for online porn

by Kelly Valencia

Christian lobbying group CARE has told Premier the government is facing growing pressure to bring in safeguarding policies for children regarding online pornography. 

It comes as a new poll has found eight in ten people in the UK back mandatory age checks for online pornography and believe access to online porn should only be for over-18s. 

In 2017, the government passed the Digital Economy Act, a bill that included forcing commercial pornography websites to establish age checks and the proposal of a regulator. 

However, that part of the legislation was never implemented with many children's and women's charities denouncing that "the failure to implement Part 3, in the absence of alternative protections, has become unsustainable".  

"There are now serious questions from ministers on why those measures haven't been enforced, especially when such a huge majority of the public thinks it's a good idea, when children's charities women's groups, and politicians of every stripe think that it should be brought into force," Jamie Gillies from CARE told Premier. 

As pressure mounts for the government, a bill proposed by DUP peer Lord morrow, seeking to force the implementation of part 3 of the Digital Economy act, had its first reading in the House of Lords. 

The government argues that its current online safety bill will protect children from pornography and other extreme content online, superseding part 3 of the Digital Economy Act. 

But for Gillies, the online safety bill is not enough: "that doesn't even cover all pornography websites, it covers sites, which host user-generated content, which is particularly social media platforms, that doesn't cover all of your websites. So, there is a dangerous loophole in the law, which is going to be there if ministers don't act." 

"Pray that politicians will be bold in really calling on the government to take action, I think it's sometimes hard for Christian politicians in particular to do that. Some people might criticise Christians for being prudish, or conservative for wanting to see children protected from porn. So, we need to pray that these websites will be exposed, that politicians will be able to see this and be emboldened to take action." 

A student campaigner, Ava Vakil is pursuing a legal challenge over the failure to implement the bill passed in 2017 while in May 60 women's and children's charities wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to enact the legislation.

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