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21.01.2010

More on the new law against child pornography

   

As reported, the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday passed in its final reading the Law “On amendments to some legislative acts (on countering the spread of child pornography)”.  This legislates for the first time a definition of the crime and also introduces liability for its import, production and circulation of between 5 and 10 years imprisonment.

The amendments are to the Criminal Code, the laws “On Telecommunications” and “On the protection of public morality”.

Article 301 of the Criminal Code now reads:

Article 301: Bringing into, production, sale and circulation of pornographic items

1.         The bringing into Ukraine of works, images or other items of a pornographic nature for the purpose of sale or circulation, or their production, possession, transportation or other movement for the same purpose, or their sale or circulation, as well as coercion to take part in their creation,

shall be punishable by a fine of between 50 and 100 times the minimum wage before tax, or custodial arrest for a period of up to six months, or restriction of liberty for a period of up to three years, with confiscation of the pornographic items and means for their production and circulation.

2.         The same acts, committed with respect to film and video production, computer programmes of a pornographic nature, as well as the sale to minors or the circulation among them of works, images or other items of a pornographic nature,

            shall be punishable by a fine of between 100 and 300 times the minimum wage before tax, or restriction of liberty for a period of up to five years, or deprivation of liberty for the same period, with confiscation of the pornographic film and video production, and means for their production and showing.

3.         The bringing into Ukraine of products of a pornographic nature, created with the participation of a child or use of a child’s picture for the purpose of sale or circulation, transportation or other movement for the same purpose, preparation, sale or circulation, including by providing access to such products with the use of information telecommunication systems, as well as the purchase, exchange and possession of such products in any form and by any means, -

            shall be punishable by a fine of between 500 and 700 times the minimum wage before tax, or restriction of liberty for a period of up to five years, or deprivation of liberty for the same period, with confiscation of the pornographic film and video production, and means for their production and showing.

4.         The sale to minors or circulation among them of works, images or other items of a pornographic nature created with the participation of a child or use of a child’s picture

            shall be punishable by a fine of between 700 and 1,000 times the minimum wage before tax, or restriction of liberty for a period of up to seven years, or deprivation of liberty for the same period, with confiscation of the pornographic film and video production, and means for their production and showing

5.         Acts, set out in paragraphs one to four of this article, if committed again or by prior conspiracy of a group of people, as well as coercing minors to take part in the creation of works, images, or film or video products, computer programmes of a pornographic nature,

            shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a period of between five and ten years with stripping of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of three years, and with confiscation of the pornographic items, film and video products, computer programmes, means for their production, circulation and showing

            Amendments to the Law on the Protection of Public Morality provide a definition of child pornography and references to it.

The following amendment is made to Article 39 of the Law “On Telecommunications”

            18) on the basis of a court order to restrict access of its customers to resources by which child pornography is being circulated”.

            Paragraph two is amended as follows:

“Operators, providers of telecommunications shall keep and provide information about their customers’ Internet connections according to procedure established by law.

 

It should be mentioned that this was the main area of concern during the first reading of the law. At that stage there was a norm which obliged providers to keep information about their customers’ Internet traffic and report on cases where legislation was violated, including about the circulation of pornography involving children.

The President of the Internet Association of Ukraine, Tetyana Popova told the newspaper Kommersant - Ukraine that providers are no longer obliged to monitor their customers’ traffic, but that there remain a number of points still unclear. “The document says that telecommunication operators should keep information about their customers’ connections, but it doesn’t indicate for how long.” She adds that it is also unclear whether the very service of providing access to the Internet constitutes “providing access to child pornography”. She says that a working group has already been created with representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Internet Association. It will study international experience and endeavour to adapt this to Ukrainian legislation.

There are of course a number of civic organizations that are convinced that Internet providers should bear liability for access to sites with dodgy content. Kommersant quotes Inna Savchuk, from the Service for the Protection of Children as stating that they must monitor and block sites with child pornography.

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