Sweden's culture minister Marita Ulvskog is close to achieving her aim of revising the country's film classification system by adding "abusive sexual humiliation" as one of the criteria for banning a film from public screening or video distribution.

The ongoing censorship debate heated up two years ago when Alexa Wolf's Shocking Truth - a documentary revealing hidden truths about the porn industry, sparked local outrage and prompted Ulvskog to commission a detailed study into the current certification policy.

Currently, the main criteria for banning a film in Sweden are "sexual violence and coercion". The censors primarily judge to what extent a film can be said to have a "brutalising effect" on its audience and rate it accordingly.

The Swedish Board of Film Classification, Statens Biografbyra, has opposed the introduction of the new criteria, arguing that "sexual humiliation" is a subjective interpretation of an experience that can vary from individual to individual and therefore is impossible to apply to fiction films by a board of censors.

What is sexually humiliating for one is a pleasure for another, says Gunnel Arrback, director of the Board to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The culture minister previously expressed her frustration when the Board changed the certificate for Scary Movie from 15 to 11, after an appeal by film's distributor.

More recently, the decision by the board of censors, of the otherwise liberal country, to give the highest available rating to Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence, made international headlines last year.

Statens Biografbyra rates all theatrical films and videos for public viewing, and has the power to request cuts or even ban a film from public screening. Sweden currently has four classifications: "Permitted for children" and minimum age 7, 11 and 15. However, younger children can attend a film if accompanied by an adult.

Previous criteria for disapproving films such as "perversely exciting" or "liable to encourage crime" were abolished in the beginning of the nineties.

If approved by the Swedish Parliament, the new censorship law will be introduced on July 1st.