Countries Where Porn Is Illegal 2022

map placeholder

Is pornographic material free speech that should be protected, or is it obscenity and even a public health concern? While we all have our own personal opinions, the countries in which we live have the final legal say in the matter—and some countries have deemed pornography not only immoral, but also illegal. Countries like the United States and Canada have little-to-no censorship thanks to laws guaranteeing free speech and the ways the courts interpret those laws. Other countries are much more stringent, and some go so far as to censor or block pornography on the internet. Censorship laws tend to correlate strongly with countries' levels of overall freedom.

Countries with the most restrictive internet and pornography laws

North Korea has the highest level of censorship of any country in the world. The government censors everything moving into, out of, or around the country, including all news sources, media outlets, and social media. Pornography is not allowed. In case people think they can outsmart the government and use a virtual protected network (VPN) to access porn, think again. The government censors VPNs, too.

The communist country China employs the world's second-most-restrictive censorship levels. Along with most Western social media, political news, and VPNs, pornography is censored through the "Great Firewall of China", also known as the Golden Shield Project. A few sites or VPNs pierce the shield from time to time, but these are often blocked shortly after they are discovered.

Iran censors news media and most social media, including Facebook, and pornography is not available. Many other Muslim-majority countries, including Qatar, Syria, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Oman, Eritrea, and the United Arab Emirates, take a similar approach, mainly to protect the countries’ Islamic values. VPNs can often be accessed, though, so people in those countries can get around government censorship.

Russia blocks many internet sites, including many (but not all) pornography sites. The general rule in Russia is that viewing pornography is not illegal but producing it is. VPNs are blocked in Russia, too. Similarly, many governments in many countries across Africa and Asia (along with the communist country of Cuba, off the coast of Florida) censor and heavily restrict access to pornographic websites. Thailand, for example, instituted a ban on online pornography in 2019. Some readers may be surprised to learn that the United Kingdom and Australia also restrict access to pornography. People in these countries can use a VPN. However, overall, the governments believe that censoring pornography is necessary to keep children safe, both when they are browsing the internet and when they may be at risk of being trafficked.

Should pornography be censored, regulated, or made illegal?

There is significant controversy about whether governments should censor or at least regulate pornographic websites. Pornography addiction is not yet recognized by most medical organizations as a "true" addiction such as drug addiction or alcoholism. However, studies have indicated that widespread access to pornography can negatively affect an individual's mental wellness, the health of couples' marriages, and even the economy as a whole (in lost work hours and, in extreme cases, therapy). The production of pornography can also exploit the performers—most of whom are women and some of whom are still children—who participate in it, in some cases against their will. Nevertheless, some governments are hesitant to censor, regulate, or outlaw pornography (so long as it does not involve illegal acts such as bestiality or statutory rape), for fear of impinging upon free speech.

Countries Where Porn Is Illegal 2022

Country Pornography Banned Pornography Restricted VPNs Banned VPNs Restricted 2022 Population
AfghanistanYesYesNoNo40,754,388
AlbaniaNoNoNoNo2,866,374
AlgeriaNoYesNoNo45,350,148
AndorraNoNoNoNo77,463
AngolaNoNoNoNo35,027,343
ArgentinaNoNoNoNo46,010,234
ArmeniaYesYesNoNo2,971,966
AustraliaNoYesNoNo26,068,792
AustriaNoNoNoNo9,066,710
AzerbaijanNoYesNoNo10,300,205
BahrainYesYesNoYes1,783,983
BangladeshYesYesNoNo167,885,689
BelarusYesYesYesYes9,432,800
BelgiumNoNoNoNo11,668,278
BelizeNoNoNoNo412,190
BeninNoNoNoNo12,784,726
BhutanNoYesNoNo787,941
BoliviaNoNoNoNo11,992,656
Bosnia And HerzegovinaNoNoNoNo3,249,317
BotswanaNoNoNoNo2,441,162
BrazilNoNoNoNo215,353,593
BruneiYesYesNoNo445,431
BulgariaNoNoNoNo6,844,597
Burkina FasoNoNoNoNo22,102,838
BurundiNoNoNoNo12,624,840
CambodiaYesYesNoNo17,168,639
CameroonNoNoNoNo27,911,548
CanadaNoNoNoNo38,388,419
Cape VerdeNoNoNoNo567,678
Central African RepublicNoNoNoNo5,016,678
ChadNoNoNoNo17,413,580
ChileNoNoNoNo19,250,195
ChinaYesYesYesYes1,448,471,400
ColombiaNoNoNoNo51,512,762
ComorosNoNoNoNo907,419
Costa RicaNoNoNoNo5,182,354
CroatiaNoNoNoNo4,059,286
CubaNoYesNoYes11,305,652
CyprusNoNoNoNo1,223,387
Czech RepublicNoNoNoNo10,736,784
DenmarkNoNoNoNo5,834,950
DjiboutiNoNoNoNo1,016,097
EcuadorNoNoNoNo18,113,361
EgyptNoYesNoYes106,156,692
El SalvadorNoNoNoNo6,550,389
Equatorial GuineaYesYesNoNo1,496,662
EritreaYesYesNoNo3,662,244
EstoniaNoNoNoNo1,321,910
EswatiniNoNoNoNo1,184,817
EthiopiaNoYesNoNo120,812,698
FijiNoNoNoNo909,466
FinlandNoNoNoNo5,554,960
FranceNoNoNoNo65,584,518
GabonNoNoNoNo2,331,533
GambiaNoNoNoNo2,558,482
GeorgiaNoNoNoNo3,968,738
GermanyNoNoNoNo83,883,596
GreeceNoNoNoNo10,316,637
GuatemalaNoNoNoNo18,584,039
GuineaNoNoNoNo13,865,691
Guinea BissauNoNoNoNo2,063,367
GuyanaNoNoNoNo794,045
HondurasNoNoNoNo10,221,247
Hong KongNoNoNoNo7,604,299
HungaryNoNoNoNo9,606,259
IcelandNoNoNoNo345,393
IndiaNoYesNoNo1,406,631,776
IndonesiaYesYesNoNo279,134,505
IranYesYesYesYes86,022,837
IraqNoNoYesYes42,164,965
IrelandNoNoNoNo5,020,199
IsraelNoNoNoNo8,922,892
ItalyNoNoNoNo60,262,770
JapanNoYesNoNo125,584,838
JordanNoNoNoNo10,300,869
KazakhstanNoYesNoYes19,205,043
KenyaNoNoNoNo56,215,221
KuwaitYesYesNoNo4,380,326
KyrgyzstanNoYesNoNo6,728,271
LaosYesYesNoNo7,481,023
LatviaNoNoNoNo1,848,837
LebanonNoYesNoNo6,684,849
LesothoNoNoNoNo2,175,699
LiberiaNoNoNoNo5,305,117
LibyaNoYesNoNo7,040,745
LiechtensteinNoNoNoNo38,387
LithuaniaNoNoNoNo2,661,708
LuxembourgNoNoNoNo642,371
MadagascarNoNoNoNo29,178,077
MalawiNoNoNoNo20,180,839
MalaysiaYesYesNoNo33,181,072
MaldivesYesYesNoNo540,985
MaliNoNoNoNo21,473,764
MaltaNoNoNoNo444,033
MauritaniaNoNoNoNo4,901,981
MauritiusNoNoNoNo1,274,727
MexicoNoNoNoNo131,562,772
MoldovaNoNoNoNo4,013,171
MongoliaNoNoNoNo3,378,078
MontenegroNoNoNoNo627,950
MoroccoNoYesNoNo37,772,756
MozambiqueNoNoNoNo33,089,461
NamibiaNoNoNoNo2,633,874
NepalYesYesNoNo30,225,582
NetherlandsNoNoNoNo17,211,447
New ZealandNoNoNoNo4,898,203
NicaraguaNoNoNoNo6,779,100
NigerNoNoNoNo26,083,660
NigeriaNoNoNoNo216,746,934
North KoreaYesYesYesYes25,990,679
NorwayNoNoNoNo5,511,370
OmanYesYesNoYes5,323,993
PakistanYesYesNoNo229,488,994
PalestineNoYesNoNo5,345,541
PanamaNoNoNoNo4,446,964
Papua New GuineaNoYesNoNo9,292,169
ParaguayNoNoNoNo7,305,843
PeruNoNoNoNo33,684,208
PhilippinesNoYesNoNo112,508,994
PolandNoNoNoNo37,739,785
PortugalNoNoNoNo10,140,570
QatarYesYesNoYes2,979,915
RomaniaNoNoNoNo19,031,335
RussiaNoYesNoYes145,805,947
RwandaNoYesNoNo13,600,464
SamoaNoNoNoNo202,239
Saudi ArabiaYesYesNoYes35,844,909
SenegalNoNoNoNo17,653,671
SerbiaNoNoNoNo8,653,016
SeychellesNoNoNoNo99,426
Sierra LeoneNoNoNoNo8,306,436
SingaporeNoYesNoNo5,943,546
SlovakiaNoNoNoNo5,460,193
SloveniaNoNoNoNo2,078,034
SomaliaNoNoNoNo16,841,795
South AfricaNoYesNoNo60,756,135
South KoreaYesYesNoNo51,329,899
South SudanNoNoNoNo11,618,511
SpainNoNoNoNo46,719,142
Sri LankaNoYesNoNo21,575,842
SudanNoNoNoNo45,992,020
SurinameNoNoNoNo596,831
SwedenNoNoNoNo10,218,971
SwitzerlandNoNoNoNo8,773,637
SyriaYesYesNoYes19,364,809
TaiwanNoNoNoNo23,888,595
TajikistanNoNoNoYes9,957,464
TanzaniaYesYesNoNo63,298,550
ThailandYesYesNoYes70,078,203
Timor LesteNoNoNoNo1,369,429
TogoNoNoNoNo8,680,837
TongaNoNoNoNo107,749
Trinidad And TobagoNoNoNoNo1,406,585
TunisiaNoYesNoNo12,046,656
TurkeyYesYesNoYes85,561,976
TurkmenistanYesYesNoYes6,201,943
UgandaYesYesNoNo48,432,863
UkraineNoYesNoNo43,192,122
United Arab EmiratesYesYesNoYes10,081,785
United KingdomNoNoNoNo68,497,907
United StatesNoNoNoNo334,805,269
UruguayNoNoNoNo3,496,016
UzbekistanYesYesNoNo34,382,084
VenezuelaNoYesNoNo29,266,991
VietnamYesYesNoNo98,953,541
YemenYesYesNoNo31,154,867
ZambiaNoYesNoNo19,470,234
ZimbabweNoYesNoNo15,331,428

Countries Where Porn Is Illegal 2022

Sources