Pornography Control Act 2012; Possibilities and Problems.
The Parliament has enacted a law by the title of Pornography Control Act, 2012. The law was approved by the President of Bangladesh on 08 March 2012 having been accepted by the Parliament.
The preamble of the Act very correctly identifies the reason behind enacting this piece of legislation. The preamble says this Act has been enacted to prevent detoriation of moral and ethical values of the society. Information technology with its immense benefits has got some disadvantages as well if it is used by mischief people with criminal intention. It has been seen in our country that video clips, MMS etc of sexual intercourse or behavior relating to sexual activities have been recorded on camera by a section of people and then used to blackmail, cheat, defame girls and women.
Social media sites such as Facebook are immensely popular and it is very easy to spread a video clip around the globe. This Act makes any such recording of video, still picture and publication of them in print, electronic or whatsoever form a Criminal offence. Some section of the society cultures a thought that if the video was recorded or the still picture was taken with the consent of the persons being filmed it will not be a crime; but actually and very justly it is a crime under section 8 of the Pornography Control Act 2012 and any person convicted under the above mentioned section can be sentenced up to 7 (seven) years of imprisonment.
The Act has a separate section for child pornography and for this act any person below the age of 18 is a child and any pornography recording, pictures with a child being filmed will carry a sentence of 10 years imprisonment and five lac taka fine. Few other feature of the Act is that it empowers the Court to take expert opinion/help from IT experts and empowers the Investigation Officer to siege or search any device, book, CD etc as evidence.
Section 11 of the Act states that Government may constitute Tribunal which is yet to be established for trial of offences under the Act and No Rules have been made by the Government as of now. Any false and frivolous allegation under this Act carries a sentence of 2 years imprisonment and up to 1 lac taka fine.
Overall this Act is definitely a timely initiative by the Government to curb increasing number of videos of sexual activities being recorded and released in the internet and now we await few convictions of the accused criminals to establish example in the society so that the criminal minds which are hatching conspiracy to get new pornography videos recorded are scared and terrified.
Md Sanwar Hossain
LLB (Hon’s) Barrister at law
Advocate, Bangladesh Supreme Court
S hossain & associates law office
a law firm in Bangladesh