Church to withdraw investment in firms with porn links

The Church of England (C of E) has threatened to withdraw millions of pounds worth of investment from online companies unless UK internet service providers and others crack down on internet porn.

The church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) has asked senior officials to conduct a review of part of the church's £5.3 billion investment portfolio, implementing guidelines that ensure the companies it invests in exert a "positive influence on society by educating, entertaining and uplifting individual experience", according to a report by the UK's Telegraph newspaper.

Part of the review will focus on the ease with which pornographic content can be accessed on the web.

Church regulations state that companies should be avoided if a major part of their business is "engaged in the production, transmission, publication or distribution of pornography". The review could see the Church sell off millions of its shares in companies that fall foul of the rule.

The Church's move comes shortly after the UK's largest ISPs, including BT, VirginMedia and TalkTalk said they were considering a plan backed by PM David Cameron to make broadband subscribers opt in to be able to access adult content online. The policy has been condemned as censorship by civil liberties groups.