12 Dec 2014

Protesters stage mass ‘face-sitting’ against new porn laws

Protesters demonstrate their opposition to new pornography laws outside Parliament by simulating sex acts. Our reporters were there.

Hundreds of activists are gathering to protest against new pornography laws by simulating sex acts.

The move comes in protest of an announcement by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that 10 sexual acts, including aggressive whipping and strangulation, were to be outlawed in UK online pornography films.

Critics argue the change not only damages the country’s porn industry, with online viewers still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, but amounts to “arbitrary censorship”. Organiser Charlotte Rose called the restrictions “ludicrous” and said they were a threat to freedom of expression.

She added: “There are activities on that list that may be deemed sexist, but it’s not just about sexism, it’s about censorship. What the Government is doing is taking our personal liberties away without our permissions.”

A message posted on a Facebook page promoting the protest said: “While the measures won’t stop people from watching whatever genre of porn they desire, as video shot abroad can still be viewed, they do impose severe restrictions on content created in the UK.”

It added that they “appear to make no distinction between consensual and non-consensual practices between adults”.

Organisers hoped to set a new world record for the largest number of clothed “face sits” during the protest but said they were unable to get an official adjudicator from the Guinness Book of Records .

Activists also attempted to re-enact sex scenes banned in UK-made online porn films after the government’s crackdown.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulation 2014 came into effect this month.

Channel 4 News’ reporters are covering the event – see their footage below: