India Getting Tough on Wireless Porn

Mar 23, 2011 8:00 AM PST

NEW DELHI — New legislation that will levy stiffer fines and possible jail time for sending “obscene” MMS texts or Internet porn to wireless devices is being pushed by India’s government.

According to the Times of India, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill has been introduced by the government’s women and child development ministry (WCD) to eliminate “indecent representation of women in audio and visual material, including advertisements, publications and electronic form.”

The new law would make objectionable representation of women a crime.

Part of the proposed legislation is "distribution" that will include uploading of content on the web. A section on "material" has also been introduced and will include book, pamphlet, paper, slide, painting or photographs.

The new bill includes new definitions of terms like advertisements to include "notice, wrapper, label, circular or other document or any audio or visual representation made by means of any light, laser light, sound, smoke, gas or electronic form or through any media for the purpose of promotion of any goods, services, place, person, event or organization."

Stiffer penalties are also part of the WCD’s plan that include a fine of Rs 50,000 (about $1,100), up from Rs 2,000 and a jail term of up to three years for first-time offenders.

The government also wants the term to be raised to a maximum of five years for the second and subsequent conviction and the fine hiked from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh (about $10,000).

WCD minister Krishna Tirath told the Times, "Amendments to the Act have been made to cover all possible forms of delivery of content and make the legislation contemporary."

Although obscenity has been addressed by the Indian government before in its IT Act, the ministry watchdogs felt it had some legal loopholes arguing that none of the provisions of the Act referred specifically to indecent representation of women.

The government feels that current laws don’t effectively focus on protecting women in the face of the rising use of advanced technology and media and communication devices.

The proposed legislation has reportedly been presented to the country's ministries and is expected to be reviewed by the Union Cabinet soon.



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