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Government defines child pornography, brings digital content under purview

Representative picture. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team Delhi Jul 12, 2019, 01.29 PM (IST)

The government has defined child pornography in its amendments to the POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) and enhanced punishment for possessing and distributing such material.

In a bid to convey the message of zero tolerance towards child pornography, the Women and Child Development Ministry has proposed that any sexual explicit digital or computer-generated content involving children will come under the purview of child pornography.

According to the new definition, child pornography is “Any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child which includes photograph, video, digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child and an image created, adapted or modified but appear to depict a child”.

The bill also proposes that those who store or possess pornographic material in any form involving a child will be fined anywhere between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10, 000. Earlier, the fine was between Rs 1000-3000.

The amendments to the POCSO Act were approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday. The amendments also include death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, besides providing stringent punishments for other crimes against minors, officials said. The bill will now be presented in Parliament next week.

In February, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested one of the five administrators of a WhatsApp group that was allegedly involved in circulating child pornographic content, the agency revealed that the group has many as 119 members from 40 countries. 

"The maximum members in the WhatsApp group were from India with 66, from Pakistan 56 and USA had the least with 29. While the forensic examination of electronic gadgets is being done by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC(T)) in Trivandrum," the agency had said.

(With inputs from agencies)