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    India Proposes 7-year Jail Term for Sharing of Child Porn on WhatsApp

    © AFP 2018 / LIONEL BONAVENTURE
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    While the Indian administration is struggling to mitigate increasing cases of rape and abuse of minor children, it hopes the move will apply brakes on the propagation of pornographic content.

    The Indian government has proposed up to 7-year jail terms with no bail for sharing child porn on messaging platform WhatsApp. A recent circular issued by the government proposes new amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act to prevent people from sharing pornographic videos of minors.

    The new amendments are awaiting the approval of the Law Ministry and the Ministry of Women and Child Development and will be cleared in the upcoming weeks after which they will be sent to the cabinet, the Times of India reported, quoting sources from the ministry.

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    While there is no punishment announced for people who receive child porn videos on their phones accidentally, the amended Act would make it mandatory to report any such incident to the authorities.

    Not reporting the video could lead to a fine of INR 1,000 (approximately US $14) the first time and will be no less than INR 5,000 (approximately US $70) in case of a second offense, the report adds.

    "Social media platforms are one of the main sources of pornography in the country. While the enacting of the law is welcome, the government must also be acting towards combating the people who are into the business of pornographic production and child trafficking in the country," Shiney Anil, the program officer with Jovita, a non-governmental child protection agency, told Sputnik. 

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    India has the greatest number of WhatsApp users. The Indian government has been asking WhatsApp to ensure that its platform is not used for spreading fake news and anti-social content.

    Following directives from the Indian government, WhatsApp has limited the forwarding capacity of its users in the Indian region and also set up a local office to address grievances and complaints about misuse of the platform.

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    Tags:
    amendment, child porn, punishment, penalty, WhatsApp, India
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