British Naturism has called on Parliament to protect the British people from prudery and prejudice after Facebook allowed videos depicting graphic beheading - but maintained an absolute block on showing a "fully exposed breast", along with all other nudity.
The social network had introduced a temporary ban on decapitation videos in May following evidence-backed complaints that the clips could cause long-term psychological damage. However, the US firm has now said that users should be free to watch and condemn such videos.
Meanwhile, any form of nudity, including photos of breastfeeding mothers or scenes filmed at naturist clubs or on naturist beaches, is banned. In 2011, the page of a breast-cancer survivor was blocked after she posted a picture of her reconstructed breast while breast-feeding groups have had accounts closed and pages removed and members of British Naturism have often found images of non- sexual nudity blocked or removed from Facebook.
British Naturism’s campaigns director, Malcolm Boura, said: “That they should even consider showing such horrendous violence, never mind go ahead and do it, shows just how hypocritical and damaging their censorship policies are.”
“They are acting on prejudice instead of facts and evidence and it is doing huge damage. They are making it much harder to promote breast-feeding and much harder to promote wholesome body attitudes. The result is that most children and young people get their (mis)information from playground myth and the glamour and pornography industries. The evidence is very clear, body-honesty is essential.
“British Naturism believes Parliament should act. If Facebook is doing significant levels of business in this country, they must play by British rules. The censorship imposed by Facebook hides behind a smokescreen of concern for children - and yet they are allowing these horrific videos.
“This is corporate prudery from faceless and unaccountable overseas companies who take our money, but won’t respect our values and our right to freedom of expression. We call upon Parliament to protect us from big business censorship and to require that internet filtering is evidence based and accountable.”
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Notes for Editors
British Naturism (BN) is the UK’s officially recognised naturist organisation. It exists to support and unite naturists around the UK and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014, although its predecessors were in existence since the 1930s.
Amongst the aims of BN are to campaign for more places to be made available for naturism and to protect naturists against discrimination and Victorian attitudes to the human body.
Fact – in law, there is no offence of nudity. Various pieces of legislation and common law are often mentioned in connection with naturism but they are rarely relevant.
In the UK, there are over 130 sun clubs, swim clubs and holiday resorts and many beaches used regularly by naturists. Membership of BN is around 10,000 people with many more being members of clubs affiliated to BN.
YBN (Young British Naturists) has a membership of young men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 who get together at clubs and beaches many weekends. They represent the UK at the International Naturist Federation (INF) Youth Rally held annually
Naturism is good for you! Naturists report improvements in well-being, stress, chronic illness, self-esteem and body image. It’s also a sensible choice of dress when the weather is warm. Naturists are normal people. The only difference between activities inside and outside of naturism is the dress code.
It is a fallacy to believe that naked children are any more at risk in a naturist environment. Unaccompanied children are not permitted in naturist places and the community spirit that pervades ensures that a watchful eye is present. Despite the perception, there are far fewer problems in naturism than in more “public” places where children and adults mix. Mindful of the need to be aware of child safeguarding issues, however, BN have a robust child safeguarding policy, code of practice, and a Child Safeguarding sub-committee that meets regularly and runs workshops on the subject, sometimes to groups from outside the naturist world.
For the media, there is a dedicated “Media Centre” at http://www.bn.org.uk/media, which contains useful information for those wishing to write about naturism or to feature this wonderful world in their publications or programmes.