Friday, May 30, 2008

Child Pornography - Where to Draw the Line?

Note: This post is adapted from one of my posts in ReCom.

First off, some background for the uninitiated:

In most Western countries, it's not illegal to possess adult materials as long as the viewer, and the subject depicted are above the age of majority (usually 18 years old) and the "artwork" is done with the subject's consent. However, child pornography is a universal no-no - it's illegal to possess anything depicting naked subjects who are less than 18 year old. You can read more about it in these Wiki articles:

Wikipedia - Child Pornography
Wikipedia - List of Pornography Laws by Region

Last year, a Monash medical student was convicted of possessing child pornography and faced ruin for his whole medical career. *(news here)* He was supposed to be an outstanding student with an impeccable background, but he will very likely lead a life with shame because of this incident.

Recently, one of the hottest news in Australian papers is this Bill Henson who had photographs consisting of pictures of naked 13-year-olds in art galleries. He is an otherwise "decent and inspirational" man; but these works of his, now perceived as child pornography, may now bring him some court or jail hours in the near future. *(news here)*

Meanwhile, Keira Knightley, your pretty princess in "Pride and Prejudice" and "Pirates of the Caribbean", showed her bare breasts very legally in a movie called "The Hole", when she was 16 years old. And Saaya Irie, the "Busty 11-Year-Old Girl with F cup", is very well a legal thing because she wore bikini for her very suggestive photos.

At this juncture, you, the readers of this post, might already be tempted to find the pictures of Bill Henson's works and Keira Knightley's The Hole screencaps. Yes they are available online, BUT WAIT!!! It's illegal to view those in Malaysia. Beware, you might face the same consequence as that medical student if you are not careful. However, you can very well enjoy Saaya Irie's pictures and videos, because, as you might have expected, as there are no genitalia or nipples in those works, you are still a free and legal man.

Do you think Bill Henson should really face the charges? Assuming that Bill Henson's works were genuinely "artistically orientated", how is his work more inculpable than Saaya Irie's shots? Just how should we draw a line for child pornography?

Image Credit: Chuck Gallagher