Let's Build a Responsible Cyber Society

Should we legalize por.n?


A strange debate has been raised in the Post Mallika Sheravat MMS scam whether por.n should be legalized?. Times of India carries this story where several experts seem to agree on this controversial aspect. A couple of years back Naavi.org had expressed preference to the setting up of a .xxx domain name TLD so that por.n sites may exist but could be filtered out. A time has come to re start this debate.

TOI which is known to be soft on por.n as evidenced by its front page design as well as the red light clubs which adorn the Indiatimes clubs section has come out with the debate that is sure to create ripples in the society.

At a time when we are fighting the unending spam with explicit messages, stream of objectionable stuff which is embedded with viruses and trojans, it is strange that many seem to agree with the view that por.n should be legalized.

It is worthwhile to repeat some of the statements made in the TOI article so that we can put the discussion in the right perspective.

The real issue is that many support  por.nography because they see an economic advantage. The authors, Nikhit Kazmi and Allen O'Brein quote

"legalising por.n makes economic sense.  It is estimated that Americans spend around $10 billion a year on adult entertainment. Consumer demand is so strong that film companies are now making millions selling erotica to America. According to Paul Fishbein, president, Adult Video News, the industry's trade publication, there are over 800 million rentals of adult videotapes and DVDs in video stores in the US every year along with 200 adult entertainment companies..." etc

What an argument?...By the same token, terrorism should be made legal. Crimes should be made legal. Gambling should be made legal. Drugs should be made legal. because all these represent large industries in which huge investments have been made..large number of people are employed. This means that things like banning smoking advertisements, prohibition, banning dance bars, introducing dress code in churches etc are childish to say the least. In fact many of our Cyber Cafes would be too glad to add that they too are economically well off because of por.nography.

It is further strange to observe that many seem to agree on the views of the authors. Some of the quotes extracted from the same article reveal the following opinions.

"Yes,  "it's time to kick up a debate whether por.n should be legalised or not"..Pavan Duggal

" And why not? ..People all over the world have learnt to live with it; it's high time we Indians -- specially celebs -- need to do the same." .. novelist Shobhaa De.

 "As long as we do not intrude on anyone's privacy, watching por.n should have nothing to do with the law. I don't really care if one morphs my image on the Internet. Morphing is there to be enjoyed... that's it!" .. Upen Patel, model

"por.n is okay, Because India is the land of the erotic. Celeb por.n is eroticised male and female fantasy. Nothing wrong with that. But we need to stop all forms of child por.nography." says Alyque Padamsee, theatre and ad man.

It makes one sad to observe that opinions as above persist. It reflects that some of the so called celebrities have grown insensitive to the "Community" and become so selfish that any thing is right as far as it is churning money for them.

It is even sadder that publications such as Times of India chose to promote such opinions and thereby sell their publications.

It is to be recognized that "por.nography" by definition is that which "Depraves" and "Corrupts" the minds of people. If something is not "depraving or corrupting" then it is not classified as "por.nography" at all.

Having accepted this definition, there is no ground to support either legalization or even tolerance of por.nography.

por.nography on the net destroys our younger generation and demeans the value of Internet as an "Information Super Highway". It prevents the society from giving free access to Internet for the younger generation and thereby stunts the growth of Internet as a whole. por.nography abets other crimes by spreading virus, trojans, password stealing software, etc.

There is therefore no ground to support legalization of por.n.

While filtering of por.nographic sites is a technological challenge, it is necessary fore the society to re think on the feasibility of creating an exclusive domain with .xxx TLD so that all those who celebrate the por.n stuff can continue to enjoy the stuff while the conservative society can continue to work in a more sanitized environment. Once such a domain is created, presence of any por.n stuff in the sanitized zone should be considered strictly punishable.

Now that this issue has been brought up for debate, the ITA-2000 review committee which is formulating laws for Cyber Cafe regulation amongst other things should take note and probably suggest that

"A new exclusive TLD (.xxx.in) should be created under the dot in domain where adult material may be held immune from the operation of section 67 of ITA-2000, provided however that all ISPs filter the domain and provide access only to those who hold an "Adult Pass" issued in the form of a new category of Digital Certificate".

This provision will satisfy the economic sense since it can attract global por.nographic players to the dot in domain and also increase the market for digital certificates.


July 13, 2005

(Comments welcome)

Related Articles:

What is an "Adult Pass"?

Legalize por.n?..TOI

Cultural Policing- Creating a Red Light Area on Cyber Space.. Naavi.org

For Structured Online Courses in Cyber laws, Visit Cyber Law College.com


Back To Naavi.org