MEPs will vote this week on a report which recommends a ban on all forms of pornography, which critics say is an invasion of privacy on the internet, and in the bedroom

On Tuesday the ‘Report on Eliminating Gender Stereotypes in the EU’ will be voted on by MEPs. It was prepared by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality to mark International Women’s Day, which fell on Friday 8 March.

Bloggers drew attention to the report after they noticed it includes an article calling for “a ban on all forms of pornography in the media”, including “the digital field”.

The report, if passed, would only act as a recommendation to EU states, and would not result in pornography being legally banned. However, EU reports are often used to gauge support for potential future laws.

Jacqui Hunt, director of Equality Now in London, told the Huffington Post that the report’s recommendations would help “to build a truly equal and democratic society, where women and girls do not have to experience prejudice or fear physical and psychological abuse.”

However, critics say the report is worded too broadly, as it does not distinguish between types of pornography.

There are also concerns that this could mark a new trend in draconian policing of the internet and, in the words of one blogger, “unacceptable political invasion of people’s bedrooms”.

MEP Christian Engstrom of Sweden’s Pirate Party wrote on his blog: “This is quite clearly yet another attempt to get the internet service providers to start policing what citizens do on the internet, not by legislation, but by ‘self-regulation’. This is something we have seen before in a number of different proposals, and which is one of the big threats against information freedom in our society.

“Although I completely agree that eliminating outdated gender stereotypes in the EU is a worthwhile goal, I will be voting against this resolution next week.”

Mr Engstrom added that he had received 350 emails within a day of blogging on the subject, all calling on MEPs to vote against the report.

Fears that internet censorship is growing in Europe were heightened in February when it emerged that legislators in Iceland are drafting a ban on internet pornography which, if passed, would be the first of its kind in a Western democracy.

Freedom of speech campaigners and academics wrote to Iceland’s interior minister last week urging him to end the legislation.

“Iceland is a liberal democratic state which should not serve as a role model for Internet censorship,” said the letter. It added that the ban on pornography “may create demand for an underground porn industry, unregulated and most certainly affiliated with other illegal activities.”

MEPs are said to be intending to amend the wording of the report on Tuesday, clarifying that the ban is specific to pornography in advertising.