By Fran Foo
The Australian
April 13, 2010

CHILD pornographers can be captured and prosecuted without having to resort to mandatory internet filters, says Barack Obama confidante and US Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich.

The Australian reports the Rudd Government has said the mandatory filters are crucial in its arsenal of online weapons aimed at stamping out child pornography and other forms of illegal material.

Speaking on ABC TV's Q&A program last night, Mr Bleich said Australia had been made aware of his own government's no internet censorship stance and that the US has had "healthy discussions" with its Australian counterparts on the matter.

"On the issue of the internet we have been very clear. The internet needs to be free," Mr Bleich said.

"It needs to be free the way we have said skies have to be free, outer space has to be free, the polar caps have to be free, the oceans have to be free. They're shared resources of all the people in the world."

The US had told Australia child pornographers could be nabbed without the use of internet filters, Mr Bleich said.

"What we've said is we have been able to accomplish the goals that Australia has described, which is to capture and prosecute child pornographers and others who use the internet for terrible purposes, without having to use internet filters," he said.

"We have other means and we are willing to share our efforts with them in order to allow them to at least look at a range of choices as opposed to moving in one particular direction.

"It's an ongoing conversation."