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In toughening the laws on child pornography and access to pornographic material, the Government can use Section 67 of India’s Information Technology Act, No. 21 of 2000 as a model framework, Attorney-at-Law Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said.

It is reported that the Cabinet of the Government of Sri Lanka recently approved a proposal by Minister of Justice, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to draft a new bill concerning obscene publications, as the Government believes that the provisions stipulated in Section 286A of the Penal Code which deals with obscene publications and their exhibition in relation to children and the Obscene Publications Ordinance of 1927 are archaic and inadequate to deal with the current social context.

It is also reported that the Government is looking at enacting new legislations to prevent the exploitation of children in obscene publications and to safeguard the children from exposure to the ill effects of pornographic materials.

When formulating such strict laws for what purpose pornography is being used has to and must be considered, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Commercial Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo and former Human Rights Commissioner, Attorney-at-Law Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said. What actions have the Police and the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team / Coordination Centre taken regarding the hundreds of complaints received concerning Facebook, he queried.

In cases involving nude pictures of actresses, when the actresses have handed over all details including the names of the suspects to the Directors of Criminal Investigation Department and the Colombo Crimes Division, they have been asked to file a civil defamation suit, since criminal defamation has been abolished, he observed, adding that thus the actresses received no justice.

He said in order to take down such material upon request, Facebook asks for a court decision, which our courts do not give. “In Sri Lanka, pornography is also found to be used in acts of impersonation, blackmail, threats and ransom,” he remarked.  “Has Sri Lanka signed and ratified the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime for the mere purpose of signing and ratifying it,” he questioned.