Cyprus Prohibits Sale Of Adult Material

Jeff Berg
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cypriot police are cracking down on the sale of adult magazines and DVDs at kiosks and souvenir shops in the country and announced that anyone found displaying or selling sexually explicit items after Dec. 27 will be charged with a crime, according to press reports.

Currently, many kiosks on the Mediterranean island display adult-oriented items for sale, and a series of demonstrations by women’s groups regarding the display of the material beside children’s items has called the issue to attention.

“Under the law, the sale, display or rent of pornography is illegal and police have given sellers a deadline until Dec. 27 to remove the offending material,” police spokesman Demetris Demetriou told Agence France Presse. “If not, people will be charged with breaking the law and the offending material confiscated.”

As early as July, though, Cypriot newspapers were reporting that both the police and the attorney general’s office were saying that sale of the items was legal.

“We purchased a lot of material from the shops and discovered that the material was obscene,” Deputy Police Chief in charge of Operations Soteris Charalambous told the Cyprus Mail at the time. “We took the tapes to the attorney general’s office with the recommendation that the police immediately clamp down on the sales.

“The view of the attorney general’s office was that as long as the tape is wrapped in cellophane and as long as it is labeled that the sale to minors is prohibited, then the sale of those tapes and DVDs is allowed,” Charalambous said.

Spurred on by demonstrations by the Social Problem Union and public comments made by Cypriot police, the Ministry of Justice began to seriously contemplate the idea of banning the sale of all hardcore material on the island in November.

No clear policy has yet been issued on how to distinguish between softer material like “Playboy” and more explicit materials.