Child pornography allegations on MTV`s `Skins`

Washington: A media watchdog group has called on lawmakers and law enforcement officials to investigate possible child pornography and exploitation on MTV`s new series `Skins`.

Parents Television Council President Tim Winter wrote a letter to the chairmen of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice.

"On January 17, the Viacom-owned cable network MTV aired a teenager-based drama, `Skins`," Fox News quoted him as writing in the letter.

"The episode included all manner of foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content.

"Many of the actors appearing in the show are below the age of 18. It is clear that Viacom has knowingly produced material that may well be in violation of [several] federal statutes.

"Since it is not necessary for Viacom or MTV to distribute the material in order to be in violation of the law, we call upon your committees to immediately investigate Viacom and MTV for the production of this material.

"Furthermore, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to compel the attorney general to mount an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the production of `Skins` has violated federal law meant to protect minors from exploitation," Winter wrote in the statement.

The controversial British import series `Skins` had made its debut on the cable network last Monday, causing uproar for its frank depiction of teenage sex and drug use.

But unlike MTV`s envelope-pushing shows of the past, `Skins` features underage actors engaged in sexual situations. The youngest star of the show is 15.

"Putting aside whether it is socially acceptable, I certainly believe that MTV is unnecessarily tempting fate," Ian Friedman, an attorney specializing in computer-based sex offences, said.

"It is not clear as to whether MTV is in violation of federal or state child pornography laws, but that does not mean that they won`t end up defending themselves somewhere in the United States," he stated.

Friedman added that even if potentially damaging footage is edited out, it might not be enough to protect MTV from legal repercussions.


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