The UN has called on Japan to prosecute manga cartoons of sexualized images of children. Speaking at Japan National Press Club, Dutch lawyer Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, a UN rapporteur on child prostitution and pornography, has praised the
recently-introduced law against real child pornography, but also criticised Japan for permitting cartoon imagery. She said:
When it comes to particular, extreme child pornographic content, manga should be banned.
The call from the UN envoy has been met with anger from manga artists, publishers and free-speech advocates, who claim that the ban would give the government unlimited power to restrict art.
Dan Kanemitsu, a manga translator, urged not to confuse fiction with reality, saying that manga characters may look childish but are not actually kids.
As reported yesterday, Malta's Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici has announced new amendments to censorship laws, which he said make good on the Labour Party's promises in opposition to prevent the further criminalisation of
artists and citizens based on archaic laws pertaining to obscenity.
Obscenity laws introduced in 1975 under a Labour government, which generically outlawed articles that unduly emphasised sex, crime, horror, cruelty and violence , will be repealed.
Pornography will now be defined as something which is made with the express aim to sexually arouse, and will be allowed to be distributed to adults, provided appropriate warnings will be given.
However examples of extreme pornography will be banned outright. These are defined as an act which threatens a person's life, an act which results in a person's severe injury, rape or a non-consensual sexual activity, sexual activity
involving a human corpse, and any act involving a person an animal.
Speaking to MaltaToday, Andrew Sciberras, part of the legal team charged with assembling the new law, ensured that strong defenses are in place for however falls foul of these new amendments, and that each case will be allowed to be
considered on a case-by-case basis.
Sciberras explained that the amendments are based on the British equivalent of the same laws, which he admitted were not without their controversy . He was referring specifically to the extreme porn laws , which led to protests
following their introduction in the UK in 2008.
This law has proven to be problematic when it comes to, for example, pornography of the bondage-and-masochism (BDSM) genre, which while often suggestive of violent activity by definition, could also be presented in a fictionalized setting, and
performed in a safe environment.
Sciberras added that in all cases, the context of the work in question -- be it visual or a work of literature -- will be considered in context to determine whether its worth is solely pornographic or not
Dangerous Pictures victims are waiting up to two years for cases to come before the courts, as police are struggling to keep on top of mountains of computer evidence.
A surge in the seizure of people's computers is leading to some victims facing longer waits for a court date. Laptops, PCs, tablets and mobile phones displaying the internet are increasingly involved in investigations with a huge amount of
data being processed by the county force.
Carlisle's top judge, Paul Batty QC, raised concerns over one case before him at the city's crown court after it took about two years to reach its conclusion.
Detective Inspector Neil Cooper, of Cumbria Police, explained how the force dealt with the rise. He said:
In the past few years an increasing number of crimes investigated by the police involve the use of computers, internet-enabled mobile phones and other data storage devices. As a result Cumbria Constabulary's hi-tech crime unit are examining an
increasing number of devices, many of which have a huge amount of data on them.
Each case is risk assessed and the examinations are prioritised in order to ensure that the cases where there is the greatest risk to the public are dealt with the quickest. On occasions, other cases where there is a low ongoing risk to the
public do take longer to be completed.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how one case where a man downloaded extreme porn featuring animals took two years to reach its conclusion. The case against Victor Noble came to light in 2013, but it only appeared before the city court this
month. Noble admitted five counts of possessing extreme pornography and was made the subject of a community order.