Poland moves to ban skin flicks and magazines

Parliament approves the conservative bill.

Published March 17, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Long Dong Silver, Chaisey Lain and Cicciolina, Italy's "little piece of meat," will soon be unwelcome in Poland, if Parliament has its way.

Early in March, a no-porno bill, backed by the conservative Solidarity Party and the Roman Catholic Church, was narrowly approved by Parliament members, according to the Associated Press.

If OK'd by President Alexander Kwasniewski, it will be one of Europe's toughest anti-pornography laws, banning all soft- and hardcore pornography, maybe even the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Since the fall of communism in 1989, Poland's porno trade has flourished, and some people -- including Polish-born Pope John Paul II -- are not happy about it. Solidarity member Stefan Niesiolowski told the BBC he was pleased the bill passed. He said, "This means that pornography, which is disgusting, demeaning to women and leads to violence, evil and human suffering, will completely disappear from Polish stores."

He may have spoken too soon; the liberal Freedom Union Party and other leftists who oppose the bill believe left-leaning Kwasniewski will veto it.

The Freedom Union Party contends the bill would limit freedom of expression, could spawn a black market for pornographic materials and would be impossible to enforce because it does not state exactly what constitutes pornography.

Is Long Dong more pornographic than Michael Jackson? If the bill passes, the Polish government will have to decide what is and what isn't. Not a pretty job, but someone's gotta do it.

By J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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