PHILIPPINES: Govt enacts law against child pornography
[PUERTO GALERA, 23 November 2009] - The Philippine government is providing greater protection for children against child pornography with the signing into law of Republic Act 9775, also known as the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last week.
This landmark legislation provides the full legal armour against producers, transmitters, sellers and users of child pornography in whatever form, as well as the means of production, dissemination and consumption, in public and private spaces.
The law defines child pornography as "any representation, whether visual, audio, or written combination thereof, by electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or any other means, or a child engaged or involved in real or simulated explicit sexual activities."
Aside from those below 18 years of age, any person of any age who is portrayed - by computer-generated, digitally or manually crafted images or graphics - as a child can be a victim. Considered as a victim of a violent crime, the person can claim for compensation with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and may avail of counseling, livelihood and skills training, educational assistance and free housing, legal, medical, and psychological services.
The law prohibits and imposes penalties for both real and virtual pornography, including “computer- generated, digitally created or manually crafted images or graphics of a person.” It covers visual, written material or audio representation, including “writings and pictures, books, magazines, billboards, tabloids, comics, posters, cards, calendars, decals, stickers, paintings, photographs, television shows, motion pictures, computer graphics or any electronic or other means, including the use of information technology such as mobile phones and the internet.”
Internet Service Providers
Internet service providers, Internet content hosts, mall owners and other business establishments are made accountable and required to report instances of the use of their server or facility for child pornography within seven days of a violation being committed, and obtain facts and evidence about the violation. Provincial, city/municipal, and officials are mandated to monitor internet cafes or kiosks.
The law is expansive in its prohibition by including those who knowingly access or possess child pornography, including web producers and bloggers, as criminally liable, with or without the intention to sell.
Hentai refers to the genre of pornographic cartoons that carry sexual perversions or abnormalities as overarching themes. While the anti-child pornography law does not directly ban Hentai, its expansive prohibition to include cartoons and video games makes gravely liable all Hentai producers, traders and users for any content that depicts child pornography as broadly defined by the law.
Creation of the Inter-Agency Council against Child Pornography
The law creates an Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography, led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, with a membership composed of the heads of various departments, and including representatives from child-focused non-government organisations.
Compliance with international legal instruments
The law pursues the implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, which the Philippine government ratified in 2003. The Optional Protocol defines child pornography as ‘any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child, the dominant characteristic of which is depiction for a sexual purpose.” The Anti-Child Pornography Act also complies with government commitments to other international legal instruments such as the ILO Convention No. 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.
The full text of the final copy of the law is expected to be released by the Philippine Congress soon.
Source: Save the children Denmark