Controversy and Consensus, Pornography and Hate Speech: The Legal Challenge to the Playboy Channel
Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking in Women: Israel's Blood Money, Esther Hertzog and Erella Shadmi, eds. 195-206, Routledge, 2019
14 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2019
Date Written: January 15, 2019
In 2004, the Israeli Supreme Court affirmed the legality of Playboy Channel broadcasts in Israel, after a challenge presented by a coalition of twelve feminist civil society organizations. The Court made rhetorical use of comparative law to legitimize its decision, by creating a false impression of international consensus over pornography and freedom of speech. A closer look into the American and Canadian doctrines on freedom of speech on which the court relies as identical, reveals that they are fundamentally different in their relation to pornography as well as to hate speech, it’s closest analogue. The article builds on similarities between Israel and Canada in banning hate speech, to suggest the analogy to hate speech as useful in the pornography debate. Further, the appearance of a global consensus is rhetorically used by the court to minimize and trivialize the deep controversy over pornography in Israel.
Keywords: Pornography, Hate Speech, Freedom of Speech, Constitutional Law. Comparative Law
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