(CNSNews.com) – Accusing the Obama administration of not enforcing federal obscenity laws relating to hard-core pornography, campaigners are urging members of Congress to schedule a hearing on the matter.
A letter sent to all members of the House Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees called for a hearing on the harm of pornography and why relevant laws are not being enforced.
Signed by more than 5,000 people, the letter was written and hand delivered to lawmakers by Morality in Media (MIM), an advocacy group that is involved in the War on Illegal Pornography, a national coalition.
“The task before the Justice Department is clear but the Obama administration has refused to enforce federal obscenity laws,” MIM chief executive officer Patrick A. Trueman told CNSNews.com.
“It is a violation of federal law to distribute obscene [hardcore] pornography on the Internet – and it’s all over the Internet, on cable and satellite television,” he said. “Companies like Verizon and Comcast have your pay-per-view hardcore porn channels.”
“It’s a violation to distribute hardcore pornography in hotels and motels, yet most of your hotel chains have that,” Trueman continued. “It’s a violation to be in the retail business of distributing obscene or hardcore pornography. It’s a violation to distribute it across state lines or by means of interstate commerce.”
Enforcement would be fairly simple, according to Trueman, because when the Justice Department prosecutes distribution of obscenity “it doesn’t go after the individual, it goes after the major producers and distributors.”
“A handful of these distributors are controlling most of your commercial pornography websites on the Internet,” he said, “so a few prosecutions and you could do away with a lot – in fact most pornography on the Internet.”
Trueman said moderate enforcement of the federal laws did occur under both the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations, while the George H. W. Bush administration sought to fully enforce the laws.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, “Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution and cannot be broadcast at any time.”
Trueman cited increases in porn addiction, prostitution, violence towards women, sexual trafficking and the abandonment of church as some of the social costs of pornography.
Asked what he would say to those wanting to legalize the distribution of hardcore porn, he replied, “I say the culture matters, and they matter, and there’s no good that comes from consumption of pornography. And if they want to change the laws, [they should] go to Congress and do so.”
MIM is a 50 year-old interfaith organization that says it “works through constitutional means to curb traffic in obscenity and uphold standards of decency in media.”
Trueman served as head of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section at the Justice Department from 1988 to 1993.