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Government to widen attack on internet porn

19 January 2009

The Scottish Government's promised Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill will include measures to crack down on those who download hardcore pornography from the internet.

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill wants to outlaw "extreme" images such as those depicting rape and other forms of degrading treatrment against women. Mr MacAskill is to meet with women’s groups to discuss how far the ban will go.

At the moment simple possession of such images is not an offence, unlike possession of images of child pornograhy, although trading in them is.

Mr MacAskill said that only be reducing the demand for this kind of material would the authorities be able to have any kind of impact on its supply. He added that the images in question involved activities that could be criminal and cause serious damage to those making them.

The minister said that people who mistakenly accessed extreme pornography would not be prosecuted if the offence required downloading material.

The proposed legislation will see the maximum penalty for publishing and selling extreme pornography increase from three to five years, and a three year maximum for possession of images.

Sandy Brindley, the national co-ordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland, said a wider crackdown was needed as there was a fear that extreme pornography was beginning to seep into wider culture.

The measure is however likely to raise civil liberties issues.

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