India Wants Jail Time, Fines for Sending Porn MMS, Emails

Oct 11, 2012 9:00 AM PST

NEW DELHI — Indians sending porn through MMS (multimedia messaging services) and emails could find themselves slapped with a maximum seven-year jail term or fined nearly $10,000 if the government has its way.

The Union Cabinet today approved the introduction of amendments to the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 in parliament, aimed at better defining obscene content sent via the Internet and electronic media.

The cabinet met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

According to the Times of India, if enacted, the measure will update the 26 year-old law to include electronic content that includes smartphones, computers, satellite-based communication and cable TV.

Also under consideration is the definition of “publishing,” that will include making content avialble for print and media. The older law only addressed print media and banned indecent portrayals of women in advertising, publications, writing or painting.

Spearheaded by the Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD), the new act would also expand the definition of indecent representation of women to include "depiction of women as a sexual object, which appeals to the prurient interest."

Likely to be adopted, the law will empower local cops to conduct search and seizure, a duty previously only allowed by the state government.

A government release said, “This [the IRWA] would aid in addressing the problem of increased objectification of women thereby ensuring dignity of women.

Although stating that the act was initiated to prohibit “indecent representation of women,” the proponents said, “It was felt that the scope of the Act may need to be amended. Extensive consultations have been held with stakeholders, including lawyers and civil society organizations, on the draft bill, before its finalization.”

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