News / Asia

    India Debates Porn Ban

    A five-year-old rape victim is moved to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences hospital from Swami Dayanand hospital for treatment in New Delhi, April.19, 2013.
    A five-year-old rape victim is moved to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences hospital from Swami Dayanand hospital for treatment in New Delhi, April.19, 2013.
    Anjana Pasricha
    India is debating banning pornography, as the country copes with a rising number of incidents of sexual violence.The ban on pornography has been sought by a petition in the country’s supreme court, but is winning support from women activists.

    Lawyer Kamlesh Vaswani - based in the central Indian city of Indore - wants watching pornography to be made a non-bailable offense because he feels there is a direct connection between sexual assault and looking at pornographic videos.

    “They corrupt the people. They corrupt the mind. Indian kids are accessing more graphic and brutal videos,” said Vaswani.

    To buttress his argument, Vaswani points to reports that the suspect arrested for the recent rape of a five-year-old girl in New Delhi told police that he watched porn clips on a mobile phone before the brutal crime.

    The lawyer has outlined his concerns that existing laws are not adequately protecting society from pornography, in a petition to the Supreme Court. Distributing pornographic material is illegal in India.  Watching it is not. The top court last week asked three government ministries to respond to the proposal by Monday.     

    The petition comes as reports of violent sex crimes targeting women and children are hitting headlines and igniting street protests. Laws have been tightened since the horrific gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi five months ago.  But police figures show that the number of rapes has increased in the city.

    What is worrying many activists is the growing number of children being targeted. Some are blaming the trend on an increase in access to online pornography.  

    Although less than ten percent of Indians have home computers connected to the Internet, mobile smart-phone ownership has increased phenomenally, providing easy access to Internet videos. In the last decade, the proportion of searches on Google for pornographic material has increased fivefold.

    Leading women activists in the country now back blocking pornography sites. They say that in the culturally conservative country, where the subject of sex is still largely taboo, pornography is negatively shaping the way young people think about sex.

    Ranjana Kumari heads the Center for Social Research in New Delhi. “There is lot of segregation that young men and women are raised with.  There are many, many issues in India. It really creates all kind of abnormalities in terms of understanding of sex," Kumari said. "It is always showing that men can take control of women’s bodies and do whatever they want. It is very important for India to review this and also to see how it can be put under maximum control.”

    Junior Information and Technology Minister Milind Deora says authorities plan to consult experts on whether pornography is provoking sexual violence.

    Even if porn sites are blocked, Internet users could still find a way to access pornography.

    Sunil Abraham of the Center for Internet and Society cites the examples of countries which have imposed similar bans.  “Even in China, pornography continues to be available and likewise in Pakistan. This is because, where there is a strong human motivation to access online content, like alcohol, prohibition becomes a losing strategy," Abraham stated. "This is very similar to underage drinking and is best regulated at home. ”

    As authorities debate whether to restrict online pornography in the coming weeks, the outcome could have an enormous impact setting online standards for one of the world’s fastest growing populations of Internet users.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Tiger from: India
    April 29, 2013 4:43 AM
    All of the rapes involved Alcohol and Drunkards. Why not think about banning Alcohol in India ?

    by: Anonymous
    April 26, 2013 2:52 AM
    <begin sarcasm>
    I saw the picture of one rape-accused on TV. He was picking his nose and wearing a white shirt. We should ban picking nose and wearing white shirts as that leads to criminal mindset and rape! The solution is right in front of us - so easy!
    <end sarcasm>

    by: Sanjay from: Delhi
    April 25, 2013 8:15 PM
    India's crafty ruling kleptocracy is borrowing a chapter from China's autocrat rulers, by declaring a pornography ban they can easily extend it to suppress legitimate political dissent. India's ruling kleptocrats are very worried by the massive criticism they get from internet commentators. A pornography crackdown would be a very convenient pretext to censor political critics and opponents of the ruling regime.

    by: Neurotic Knight
    April 25, 2013 7:47 AM
    Somalia has no internet mostly, must be the haven for women, while countries like netherlands were internet is everywhere or germany called as porn capital of the world, must be the worst place for women, i mean watching porn is the biggest cause of rape in india that is why most rapes occur in villages and rural parts which have high speed broadband unlike cities. Porn is about sex, rape is about power, stop confusing the people and straying us away from the real issue.

    by: Ranjan Das from: USA
    April 24, 2013 2:56 PM
    Both of you are in USA where porn is legal. Do you see Rape crimes everywhere? Narrow minded bans do not help. It does not even solve the problem. It is the mindset that needs the change. Suppression does not help. It just leads to a revolution.

    by: Ashok from: USA
    April 24, 2013 2:18 PM
    Yes, they should ban Porn in India and also ban the file sharing sites that are used to upload/download illegal content.

    Unfortunately due to poor Police presence, poor enforcement and poor education people are letting their primitive instincts take over. Since changing the system is vastly more complex, the best way is to ban all this content.

    by: powerandprivilege from: USA
    April 24, 2013 12:48 PM
    Pornography, including the soft porn that passes as choreography in Bollywood culture should be banned. They dehumanize women and make sex as a recreational activity to be had by macho men on demand. India should also consider introducing partial prohibition - so that the sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted - to be consumed in homes, and not in public places. Taking such drastic measures is necessary because of declining female population on account of female abortions.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora