Some of the world’s most popular porn sites have been blocked in the Philippines in an apparent crackdown on child pornography.
It comes only 10 days after a survey showed that for the third year running Filipinos had spent more time, per visit, on Pornhub than any other nation. (See our report here)
Sites such as Pornhub, Xvideos and Redtube have reportedly been blocked on networks including Smart and Sun Cellular, although customers of other ISPs say they can still access the sites.
For affected users, a message saying, “This website has been ordered blocked under authority of the Philippine Government pursuant to Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Law” is displayed on screen.
Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said the decision came directly from the office of the president. “What’s important here is that the president does not like these pornographic videos in the Internet,” he said.
“These porn sites should really be banned because they are being used by pedophiles and other people who subscribe to child pornography sites,” he explained.
He added that Mr Duterte, who has earned frequent criticism for allegedly sexist remarks while admitting to being a womaniser in the past, also abhorred other activities in the Internet such as online gambling.
Porn block questioned
Experts say that while mainstream pornography sites try their very best to keep child pornography off their sites, the fact that most of the content is uploaded by users makes it difficult to monitor and police.
However, they also say that illegal or immoral material is much more likely to be found on less well-known websites.
Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima said an anti-child pornography council composed of social workers and police had recommended that the National Telecommunications Centre (NTC) to shut down websites violating Act No. 9775.
“That committee is regularly monitoring websites, which violate the law on child pornography. They then recommend to the NTC to block those sites,” he said.
Earlier this month Pornhub’s own survey found Filipinos spent an average of 12 minutes and 45 seconds on the adult website, almost two minutes longer than the next most avid viewers, South Africans.
It’s not known if any of the sites will seek to appeal against the decision, but it is thought they may have a chance of winning as the websites are generally considered to comply with universal norms for adult videos.
Ironically, the official age of consent in the Philippines is just 12 years of age, and the country is notorious for its ubiquitous sex industry.