Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More trouble for those sending obscene MMSes ,Government Moots Stiffer Punishment

New Delhi: Forwarding obscene MMSes or pornography on the internet could get you into more trouble than before with the government planning to bring in stiffer fines and punishment against indecent representation of women in audio and visual material including advertisements, publications and electronic form.
The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill — mooted by the women and child development ministry — will make it unlawful for objectionable representation of women.
The first conviction will attract a fine of Rs 50,000, up from the earlier Rs 2,000, and imprisonment of up to three years. The term of imprisonment has been increased to a maximum of five years for the second and subsequent conviction and the fine has been hiked from a maximum of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
WCD minister Krishna Tirath said, “Amendments to the existing Act have been made to cover all possible forms of delivery of content and make the legislation contemporary.’’
While the issue of obscenity and indecency in content in electronic form has been covered in the Information Technology Act, the WCD ministry felt that there were certain limitations to the legal and regulatory framework. The ministry has argued that none of the provisions of the Act refer specifically to indecent representation of women. The government is of the view that since the violations are dealt with under different laws, the legislations lack focus that is necessary to protect women who tend to be more vulnerable to exploitation, particularly in face of increasing use of advanced technology and media and communications devices.
The proposed legislation has been circulated to ministries for their view and likely to be taken up by the Union Cabinet soon. The bill has increased the ambit 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’’.
Other issues that are dealt with are definitions of ‘distribution’ of content that will now include uploading of content on the web and introduces a section on ‘material’ including book, pamphlet, paper, slide, painting or photograph.

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