Italy Bans Adult Content Over TV Airwaves

Rhett Pardon
ROME — Italy’s permissive porn rules have been thrown out as regulators issued a permanent ban on over-the-air broadcast of adult content.

Italy’s Ministry of Communications last week issued the ban outlawing softcore porn aired on more than 500 local channels that lure an average of 1 million viewers nightly.

The decision also affects commercial spots for sex chat lines and online adult sites, as well as some vintage Playboy Channel content.

The current law allows the programs to air after midnight but the new decree will put a stop to that beginning in April. Violators of the ban could be fined between $6,600-$66,000.

In a statement, the ministry said it made the change in order to “guarantee Italian television suitable for entire families.”

The move, however, is a boon to Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia, which was allowed to continue to air encrypted adult videos on its Hot Bird pay TV channels, and perhaps to online adult companies, which could funnel some consumers to IPTV, where adult content is streamed onto TVs via a broadband connection.

Italy’s TV porn policy has been around since the 1980s when Silvio Berlusconi-owned channels began airing cult topless quiz show, “Tutti Frutti.”

The permissive policy also boosted the careers of La Cicciolina, the onetime porn star elected to the Italian parliament in 1987, and of internationally famous Rocco Siffredi.