NEW DELHI, India—Amendments being proposed to India's Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 (IRWA) could net people who send porn or obscene images by email or other digital means up to seven years in jail.
According to firstpost.com, the amendments, which "were approved by the union cabinet, ahead of the legislation being sent to parliament for making it the law of the land... seek to increase the fine and jail term, apart from expanding its scope to include audio-visual and electronic media within its ambit. The law, at present, is applicable only to the print media."
The government issued an announcement after the cabinet met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to approve the amendments that stated, in part, that the updated law "would aid in addressing the problem of increased objectification of women thereby ensuring dignity of women."
Firstpost.com added, "The IRWA was enacted with the specific objective of prohibiting the indecent representation of women through advertisement, publication, writing, and painting or in any other manner, but restricted to the print media.
"However," it continued, "technological revolution over the years has resulted in the development of newer forms of communication such as Internet and satellite-based communication, multi-media messaging, and cable television."
Indiantelevision.com reported, "According to the amended act, penalties are to be enhanced to a maximum of three years of imprisonment and fine of between Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000 for first conviction, and imprisonment of not less than two years, but which may extend to seven years, and a fine between Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000 for second conviction."
Equally problematic is the fact that "police officers not below the rank of inspectors will be authorized to carry out searches and seizures under the law, in addition to state and central government officers authorized by the state or central government," according to firstpost.com.
It's hard to see how this will not seriously infringe upon the activities of a huge percentage of India's 1.2 billion people. If you're wondering what the country's most internationally famous Bollywood star has to say about all of this, Sunny Leone will be in New York on Oct. 23, where she will be hosting the first ever South Asian Rising Star Film Awards. Maybe someone will ask her.