Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Ben-Natan on The Legal Challenge to the Playboy Challenge @TelAvivUni

Smadar Ben-Natan, Buchmann Faculty of Law; UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Law and Society, UC Berkeley Center for Middle Eastern Studies, has published Controversy and Consensus, Pornography and Hate Speech: The Legal Challenge to the Playboy Channel in Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking in Women: Israel's Blood Money 195 (Esther Hertzog and Erella Shadmi, eds., Routledge, 2019). Here is the abstract.

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.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

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