The recent spate of attacks on women in Bangalore along with the shocking molestation incident regarding MLA Julius Dorphang in Meghalaya had almost shook peoples’ conscience. In Julius’s case, it had seemed that his powerful connections and position as MLA could give the perpetrator an escape from the law of the land. But he was finally brought to book under the POSCO Act which allows us a society to now deeply introspect on the causes of such heinous crimes. As such cases come to light, an important factor contributing to these cases is identified as the accessibility and consumption of porn material over the cyber space. Pornography or the peddling of sexually explicit material over the Internet has given rise to a contentious debate since long.
The advent of the ‘internet’ and ‘world wide web’ in India has significantly influenced pornography distribution and access. These websites operate on the legal loopholes, lack of security in the cyber-space, easy accessibility and anonymity of the user. Internet access in India has grown from 5 million in 2004 to 40 million in 2007 and continues to grow at the rate of 17% a year, according to web metrics firm. India’s growth rate is the third highest in the Asia Pacific region. Alongside this, accessing pornographic material has also increased with 12% of internet websites being related to pornography, and viewers being estimated to spend roughly 3000 to 4000 dollars per second. Younger individuals were found to be more likely to use the internet both for viewing pornographic material and chat.
This issue has also been raised time and again in Europe where legislators, NGOs and child rights activists have been lobbying for a stronger ban on “child pornography” and the general viewing of such videos. The “Digital Economy Bill” addresses policy issues related to electronic communications infrastructure and services and updates the conditions for and sentencing of criminal copyright infringement. It also looks to ban anything that wouldn’t be allowed on a commercially available DVD which seems to limit adult content in a number of ways. The British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) is also working in this direction by guidelines give a non-exhaustive list of all of the things that will not be accepted in R18 – the regulators’ highest restriction and the one that all porn shown to users in the UK must now satisfy. They also have the resolve to ban any sexual act deemed “obscene” under the Obscene Publications Act, which was passed in 1959.
By: Kannao Abonmai | Source: TNT-TheNortheastToday