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Men's rights campaigner quits amid child porn row

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Men's rights campaigner quits amid child porn row
Photo: Miguel Ugalde, Jesus Martinez
14:22 CEST+02:00
The head of a Swiss local government department promoting men's rights has resigned in the wake of a newspaper interview in which he appeared to call for children to be shown pornography.

Markus Theunert, dubbed Zurich's "Mr Equality" after taking up his post -- a first for Switzerland -- on July 1st, created a storm last week when his comments were published by Swiss newspaper NZZ.

Zurich authorities said Theunert had resigned as head of the government department after refusing to step down as president of manner.ch, a men's and father's association, the ATS news agency reported.

The 39-year-old psychologist and sociologist said his comments had been taken out of context and that he had been referring to a federal review of European legislation which protects children from sexual abuse and exploitation, media reports said.

Theunert said manner.ch was in favour of parents and specialist teachers not being prosecuted if they made graphic sexual material available to children under 16 who had requested it, but that it did not encourage teachers to show pornographic films during lessons.

He said current legislation was contradictory in the sense that the majority of children had seen pornography, mainly on the internet, but that it was illegal for parents to view it with them in a  responsible way.

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