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U. S. Panel Urges Citizens to Picket, Boycott Porn Stores : Won't Be Censorship--Meese

July 09, 1986|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — The Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, releasing its final report today, issued a call to arms against the $8-billion-a-year pornography industry.

The report urges citizens across the country to protest, picket and even boycott companies and stores selling what "some citizens may find dangerous or offensive or immoral."

"Such forms of protest may discourage patrons who would otherwise enter such establishments," it said.

Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III, who appointed the 11-member commission more than a year ago, received the report at a news conference with the panel's chairman, Henry Hudson, a U.S. attorney who first won a reputation as a pornography-fighting county prosecutor in Virginia.

Won't Be Censorship

"I'm not concerned about any censorship being fostered by this document," Meese said. "I can guarantee to you that there will be no censorship . . . in violation of the First Amendment."

The 2,000-page report contains 92 recommendations for federal, state and local governments to crack down on pornography.

The panel, denounced by Playboy magazine and civil liberties groups as engaging in a witch hunt, concluded that most pornography sold in the United States is potentially harmful and can lead to violence.

"A number of witnesses told us how they became 'addicted' to pornography," the commission's report said.

Its conclusions directly conflict with scientific studies and the report of a 1970 presidential commission that found no link between pornography and violence.

Violence, Pornography Linked

The report specifically links aggressive behavior, and possibly even rape, to sexually violent material as well as nonviolent materials depicting degradation, domination, subordination and humiliation.

The report also disagrees with FBI chief William H. Webster by declaring that significant parts of the pornography industry come under the control of organized crime.

The American Civil Liberties Union has long opposed the commission, saying it was created by President Reagan to appease conservative supporters, that it was stacked with anti-pornography members and that its proposals smacked of censorship.

Other Recommendations

Among the 92 recommendations unveiled today were:

--Congress should enact laws allowing for the forfeiture and seizure of any money earned in violation of the nation's obscenity laws.

--Congress should make it an unfair business and labor practice for an employer to hire individuals to participate in sexual performances.

--Congress should ban obscene cable television programming.

--The federal government should impose sanctions against those who provide dial-a-porn telephone services.

--The United States should work with other nations to detect and intercept child pornography.

--Adults-only pornographic outlet peep show facilities that provide individual booths for viewing should not be equipped with doors. The report said making the occupant of such facilities visible would eliminate havens for sexual activity.

The panel, which held hearings across the country, examined all forms of erotica, including books, magazines, videotapes, adult channels on cable television and arcade peep shows.

But after all the testimony, the final report said it would be impossible to define pornography.

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