Israel Moves to Curb Adult Mobile Content

Jeff Berg
TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israeli Communications Ministry intends to curb the amount of adult material available on mobile phones due to numerous complaints that children were being inadvertently exposed to it.

Although adults would still be allowed to access the material by entering an access code, the ministry said that it intends to restrict the transmission of video clips on high-speed, third-general mobile networks.

Minister Ehud Olmert also said that wants to expand the constraints to include long-distance service providers as well.

The communication ministry’s move is the latest in a campaign by the Israeli government against adult content.

In the summer of 2001, Israel passed a law prohibiting television broadcasts of material that was “designed to arouse sexual stimulation.” A year later, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, passed another law banning adult entertainment available via pay-per-view channels, saying that the content was based on the exploitation of women and children and encouraged female slave trade.

According to press reports, Israeli soldiers also may have used adult videos as a type of psychological warfare, allegedly broadcasting pornographic films in Hebrew from captured Palestinian television stations in Ramallah in early November.

After Israeli forces took over the offices of the Al-Watan, Ammwaj and Al-Sharaq television stations, adult-oriented videos began to be broadcast on the channels.

The Israeli military denied the claims that it was involved in the broadcasts and blamed Palestinian officials and blamed Yasser Arafat for the adult-themed airings, saying that they were only occupying the stations in order to fight terrorists.

“We are desperate for news and constantly flipping channels and get these terrible pictures instead,” a 52-year-old east Jerusalem resident told Agence France-Presse. “Luckily, there is no electricity in half of Ramallah.”