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    Porno Cinemas to Flood Norway Once It Repeals Century-Old Law

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    Norway's Culture Ministry is determined to revoke the century-old law on municipal cinema concession in order to fight censorship and promote free speech, but the industry fears the repeal could lead to a mushrooming of pop-up porno cinemas in the Nordic country.

    The Norwegian government's proposal to reform the cinema concession law is aimed at ensuring more diversity and breadth in film choice, but it is facing resistance from the entrenched players.

    According to Eva Liestøl, the director of user security department in the Norwegian Media Authority, the government's plans to scrap licensing and open up for "free" cinema actors, may have far-reaching consequences.

    "A revocation of licensing, combined with today's simplified film production technology, can lead to a marked growth of Bollywood, Netflix, pop-up and downright porno cinemas," Eva Liestøl told the Norwegian daily Dagbladet.

    At present, it is not illegal to show sex films in Norway, as long as the movie meets the requirement of the Criminal Code.

    The cinema concession act is 104 years old and dates back to 1913. The main argument from the government's side is that the concession practice violates the constitution, because the municipalities, by deciding what is to be shown in the cinema, in practice indulge in censorship that can hinder the freedom of expression.

    "This is not how you act in a democracy," state secretary Bård Folke Fredriksen of the Conservative Party and the Ministry of Culture told Dagbladet. Folke Fredriksen argued that it was high time to remove the cinema concession.

    "This is a very old law that has played its role. The Norwegian Media Authority will ensure that the actors stay within the legislation. The breadth of the assortment will be preserved simply because it's the cinema content that attracts the public," Folke Fredriksen said.

    Folke Fredriksen had no qualms about more cinemas potentially ending up on the lewd side.

    "By opening up the cinema market, we believe that smaller niche cinemas will only strengthen the quintessential supply in Norway, and although there may be different offerings, it is only positive," Folke Fredriksen explained.

    The termination of the licensing procedure, however, will unleash free market forces, which means that virtually anyone will be able to start a cinema anywhere and show anything they want. This idea worries Arild Kalkvik, who chairs the Norwegian Association of Cinema Directors.

    "This can lead to the emergence of unserious actors who just want to take the cream off the milk with brief stints, which, you know, go well combined with alcohol sales," Arild Kalkvik said, adding that serious year-round cinemas, which are in the business for both sunny and rainy days, want to have competition on equal terms.

    The Media Authority, however, does not consider a growth in the number of actors as negative as such, film advisor Ove Watne explained, yet also pointed out that replacing the current scheme with a registration system will incur greater administrative expenses.

    If the change, which has been in consultation since this summer, will be implemented, the Media authority wishes to have a state cinema register in order to supervise, among other things, the observance of age limits.

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    cinematography, pornography, Scandinavia, Norway
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