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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora