DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Failure to block porn betrays our children

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Failure to block porn betrays our children

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UPDATED:

22:25 GMT, 16 December 2012

The evidence that young minds are being damaged by the insidious menace of internet porn is incontrovertible.

ChildLine is being flooded with calls from teenagers who are being forced by their boyfriends to act out depraved fantasies they have seen on the web.

The NSPCC warns of young girls being pressured by classmates into sending explicit and often humiliating images by text message or via websites.

Perverse: ChildLine is being flooded with calls from teenagers who are being forced by their boyfriends to act out depraved fantasies they have seen on the web

Perverse: ChildLine is being flooded with calls from teenagers who are being forced by their boyfriends to act out depraved fantasies they have seen on the web

Most disturbingly, Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, says teenage relationships have become more violently abusive because of the easy access to explicit sexual content online.

It is for these reasons that the Mail has been calling on ministers to introduce a simple block on access to all porn websites, with adults having to make a specific ‘opt in’ request if they want the filter removed.

Parents overwhelmingly supported our campaign – with half telling a government consultation they wanted some sort of automatic block on vile sexual imagery.

Yet, bewilderingly, ministers have instead decided to side with the internet companies who, of course, make millions from adverts for porn, and who will now face only a feeble requirement to ‘prompt’ adults to turn on porn-blocking filters.

The rationale for the decision – that it is up to parents to protect their children, not the State – ignores the fact that it is impossible for busy mothers and fathers to monitor tech-savvy teenage offspring round the clock.

Once again, for all its pro-family rhetoric, the Coalition is showing a disturbing reluctance to take practical steps to help parents struggling to cope with the harsh realities of modern life.

We can only pray it does not take a tragedy prompted by ready access to internet porn to show ministers the error of their ways.

Human rights circus

Today we report how, grotesquely, the legal aid bill for trying to deport Abu Qatada has now topped 500,000.

The abuse of the system by the Al Qaeda hate preacher is a prime example of why this country urgently needs to rip up Labour’s Human Rights Act and introduce a British Bill of Rights.

However, the panel David Cameron established to implement this reform has been a disaster.

Human rights: The legal aid bill for trying to deport Abu Qatada has now topped 500,000

Human rights: The legal aid bill for trying to deport Abu Qatada has now topped 500,000

Stuffed to the gunwales with liberals in order to appease Nick Clegg, it is bitterly divided and, when it publishes its final report tomorrow, unlikely to recommend any meaningful change to a regime which currently brings the very concept of human rights into disrepute.

Doubtless this outcome will delight Qatada and his well-padded lawyers.

Meanwhile, taxpayers will continue to shake their heads in disbelief as the human rights circus rolls on.

Put patients first

SIR Bruce Keogh, head of the new NHS Commissioning Board, is right to demand that the health service should become a seven-day operation which stops putting the convenience of doctors ahead of the needs of the sick.

Truly, it’s a scandal that people who fall ill at weekends are more likely to die because of a lack of consultants.

Equally, it’s unforgivable that GPs should not be required to provide a proper out-of-hours service to their patients – who are instead left at the mercy of often exhausted locums.

Yet the huge flaw in Sir Bruce’s plan is that it requires the consent of doctors, who – under shambolic contracts agreed by the last government – are paid more money for doing far less work. Sadly, we won’t hold our breath for them giving up this ludicrous deal any time soon.