India could make Internet porn punishable by jail time, $10,000 fine

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The country's print media decency laws could soon apply to the Internet and multimedia messages.

Talk about an unhappy ending: India is considering banning porn videos from being shared online and through multimedia messaging services, with violators facing lengthy prison time.

The Indian government proposed Thursday a revised law that would slap violators with a seven-year prison term and a $10,000 maximum fine.

Titled the Indecent Representation Of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 (IRWA), the extended law has been approved by India’s union cabinet and now faces a parliamentary vote. The law is currently applicable to print media, but new amendments would extend it to include electronic media.

According to a government-issued press release, new amendments to IRWA will provide better protection against the spread of indecent material and cut down on the explicit representation of women.

“This would aid in addressing the problem of increased objectification of women thereby ensuring dignity of women,” the release said.

The revised law amps up penalties for violators. First time offenders would face a maximum three years of imprisonment and fines up to $2,000. Second-time offenders would see their prison sentences extend to seven years, with a possible $10,000 fine.

According to the Indian government, India’s “increasing use of advanced technology and communication” has made it necessary to regulate electronic communications instead of just print media.

“It has, therefore, become imperative to widen the scope of the law so as to cover such forms of media, on one hand, and to strengthen the existing safeguards to prevent indecent representation of women through any such form,” the release said.

Photo via Jesper2cv/Flickr

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