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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 257
February 18, 2012

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Law Analysis

Anti Porn law tabled at the parliament

Photo: venturebeat.com

Anti Porn law was finally tabled at the Parliament on 29th January 2012. This law can be said to be another step towards modernity.

Previously, matters of pornography were dealt with under the Cinematograph Act 1918 which prohibit of exhibition of unauthorized and unlicensed films, cassettes, cinematographs, video cassette recorder etc, which has not been certified as suitable for public exhibition by the authority constituted under the Censorship of Films Act'1963. The Censorship of Films Act however, addressed only the censorship of cinematograph films and for the decertification of certified films in the interest of law and order, or in the interest of local film industry, or in any other national interest, and matters incidental thereto or connected therewith. The word 'in any other national interest' was used in the sense to maintain the fabric of the society and for which it can without any doubt, be said that no pornographic material can get permission for exhibition. In addition to this, the Penal Code also referred to prohibition of pornographic contents within Sections 292, 293 and 294. Section 292 of the Penal Code states- whoever sells, distributes, publicly, exhibits, imports, exports, conveys, advertise, offer etc, or produce of has in his possession any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, figure etc, shall be punished with imprisonment for three months or with fine or with both and under section 293- “whoever does offence to any persons under the age of twenty years, he shall be punished with six months imprisonment on with fine or with both”. There are even provisions under Totho O Jogajog Projukti Ain 2006 whereby restrictions are imposed on broadcasting any pornographic or indecent materials through website or by any other electronic means.

These laws were not sufficient to protect the victims in this modern age as the Penal Code and Cinematograph Act were very old in themselves and the Totho O Jogajog Projukti Ain 2006 despite being new addressed the matter of pornography in confusing terms.

Thus with new hopes we welcome the newly proposed Act which defines pornography as any dialogue, acting, posture, unclothed or partially unclothed dance in cinema, video, photography, graphics, audio-visual image or imagery otherwise captured and displayable, which causes sexual arousal and has no artistic or educational value. The definition of pornography also includes such books, magazines, sculptures, cartoons and leaflets which cause the sexual arousal, and their negatives and soft copies.

The proposal includes provisions so as to punish those who produce pornography on children up to 10 years imprisonment or fine up to Tk. 500,000. It has also been proposed that anyone who lure a person, with or without their knowledge and film or photograph them shall be punishable with a maximum term of 7 years in prison or a fine of Tk. 200,000. People who blackmail another with pornography, two to five years of jail and Tk 1-200,000 fine has been proposed against them . it has also been proposed that matters of pornography shall be dealt with by special tribunals. According to the proposed Act, trial of such crimes would be carried out under CrPC and the crimes would be cognizable and non-bailable.

The bill has been sent to the standing committee already and we hope and expect the enactment of the bill as soon as possible.

-Compiled by Law Desk.



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