Germany to toughen penalties against child porn

Germany is seeking to widen its definition of child pornography and jail people for up to three years for owning or trading photographs of naked children that are considered pornographic, according to a new draft law.

Reuters| Last Updated: Sep 18, 2014, 01:58 AM IST

Berlin: Germany is seeking to widen its definition of child pornography and jail people for up to three years for owning or trading photographs of naked children that are considered pornographic, according to a new draft law.

"The new rules will improve the protection of victims of sexual offences," said Justice Minister Heiko Maas, presenting the bill which was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday.

"Child pornography is sexual abuse. Children are not able to defend themselves against such violence and are traumatised," he said.

Until now, only images in which the child was in an "unnaturally sexual position" have been illegal in Germany but the new law would broaden the definition of what kind of naked poses are considered illegal pornography.

"No-one can make money out of children and adolescents` bodies," said Maas, adding that the bill does not mean parents can no longer take pictures of their own children at the beach.

Public debate and pressure for a tougher law were fuelled by news that prominent Social Democrat (SPD) lawmaker Sebastian Edathy was being investigated over pictures of naked children downloaded on his government laptop. The pictures were not illegal and Edathy has denied possessing child pornography.

The bill provides protection for people who are photographed against their will or without their knowledge in poses "which are likely to significantly harm the reputation of the person depicted" and which could be used in cyber-bullying. That will include people who are drunk or are victims of violent crime.

The draft law also targets `cyber-grooming`, the sexual grooming of children over the Internet.