The Bangladeshi government has approved a repressive new anti-pornography law which would see offenders jailed for up to 10 years.
It is believed to be Bangladesh's first law specifically targeting the spread of pornography. The legislation, which is likely to be passed by parliament, bans making or selling of any kind of pornographic material. Those found guilty could also
be fined up to $6,000.
The move seems to have come about after a string of sex tape scandals involving female celebrities.
Abul Kalam Azad, a government spokesman, claimed that the measures aim to protect young people and women from pornography, which he said, had spread like a disease through the internet and mobile phone technology.
A bill was tabled in parliament with provisions of up to seven years of jail sentence for production, storage, marketing, sale, carrying, supply and exhibition of pornography.
Home minister Shahara Khatun presented the Pornography Control Act 2012 after which it was sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny.
According to the bill pornography is any dialogue, acting, posture, unclothed or partially unclothed dance in cinema, video, photography, graphics, audio-visual image or imagery otherwise captured and displayable, which causes sexual arousal and
has no artistic or educational value. Also, such books, magazines, sculptures, cartoons and leaflets which cause the sexual arousal, and their negatives and soft copies would also be considered pornography.
The home minister claimed that pornography was spreading like a terrible disease across society and in absence of any law the crime and criminals cannot be stopped.
The Bangladesh Parliament has enacted its first-ever anti-porn law that carries extreme penalties for the production, preservation, transportation and marketing of porn.
Control Bill-2012, introduced earlier this year by home minister Shahara Khatun, received the green light and was supposedly aimed at curbing degradation of moral and social values. According to reports, the law was passed after deputy speaker
Shawkat Ali put it to voice vote.
One provision covers anyone attempting to blackmail or trying to damage a person's social or individual reputation through the use of porn. The offender would then be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and fined $2,446.
The definition of porn under the law covers obscene books, periodicals, sculptures, imaginary structures, cartoons or leaflets that stimulate sex. It also includes any vulgar dialogue, acting, body gesture, nude or half-nude dance which creates
sexual urge and that could be contained in film, video, audiovisual film, still picture, graphics or in any other means that has no artistic or educational value.
It is not applicable to books, writings, drawings or pictures reserved or used for religious purposes.