Protests over moves to publish pics of porn stars
Moves by the Police Children and Women s Bureau to publish photographs of girls some of them minors who appear in pornographic films have drawn flak from several quarters including the National Child Protection Authority.
The PCWB had last week informed Court that as a means of having the girls identified it was prepared to publish photographs of 21 girls most around the age 18 who were alleged to have posed in the nude in pornographic films.
It alleged that in one of the scenes a girl claimed to be a student of a leading school outside Colombo and as such it could be assumed she was either 18 years or younger if younger she is underage and publishing names or photographs of underage kids is considered unethical and even an offence.
The Bureau should discuss this matter with other state organizations dealing with women and children and then decide on a course of action. Usually we don t publish photographs or names of those less than 18 years because it will lead to mental and physical stress of victims or suspects, National Child Protection Authority Chief Sarath Amunugama told Daily Mirror.
Former NCPA Chairman Harendra de Silva said children and women appearing on phonographic material or videos were in reality the victims and not the perpetrators.
Some of the films or videos being circulated are 10 to 15 years old. And those appearing in them maybe happily married with children living with their parents. Publications will lead them to be ostracized causing disruption to their families. The law as at present is inadequate in dealing with child porn, Professor de Silva said.
A Home for Human Rights official said it was an absurd and ridiculous decision by the PCWB and could have a negative impact on the lives of these girls.
A question many of those against publishing photos and names of these children asked was whether such action would allow these girls to lead normal lives? But Children and Women Bureau Chief Buddhika Balachandra told Daily Mirror the bureau took the full responsibility in publishing photographs of 21 girls who had posed in several pornographic videos or films and were aware that certain human rights issues could arise as a result.
He said there was no other way to identify these girls and if published.
Mr. Balachandra believes that instead of harming their future more harm if the matter was kept under wraps.
We want to save these girls and the society. We want to get pornographic actresses to stop all such appearences instantly. And I think if we publish their pictures they will stop all continuing with their acting, he said.
Over the years and with the emergence of VCR and DVD facilities the production and distribution of pornography has grown into a vigorous industry.
But with Sri Lanka known to be a conservative country where tradition and culture seem to be at the heart of all social life, pornography is somewhat a black market or underground operation. Nevertheless pornography has fast evolved into a highly profitable trade for the producers. The children who act in the videos or films wither willingly or unwillingly can be classified as underage abuse.
The question remains at the fact how the girls lives will change and whether or not their lives will improve. Is this punishment too harsh and brutal for these girls? Everyone deserves a second chance, why not them.
OIC Balachandra says, If this continues further on, the family units will be disrupted even more. The society is damaged along with the value system and moral values of people being broken down. He also stated that lives of millions are open to danger and corruption due to these tapes. People have forgotten their values. Culture, religion, behaviour and etiquette are all but forgotten. People don t respect each other. Men sometimes refer to the fairer sex as a commodity. They don t think about treating them as mothers or sisters, he says.
We were always interested in this subject. We wanted to find out who is involved and all the rest, says OIC Balachandra. Following a hunch received by an anonymous person to the Children and Women s Bureau with a pornographic CD along with information on where they sell them the Bureau carried out their investigation and found over 75 indecent videos. We raided a few CD shops, downloaded some via the internet and found out that most of these CD s are being sold around guest-houses in Colombo, also adding he stated that most of these videos are taped around the urban areas of the country. Every measure taken therefore is for the benefit of the future of the society as well as the girls they can learn from their mistakes, he says.
However, others contradicting this say otherwise. The Home for Human Rights explicitly stands against this. We have a history of punishing the victims and not the perpetrators. These are all young girls they can not be accounted to make proper decisions. We can not be certain if they agreed to the act willingly or unwillingly then how can we punish them without knowing that for certain, she says. Do they have the maturity to make a proper decision? the official stressed.
We can not asses the circumstances which led them to do this. They might have not known the consequences people they trusted like fathers, brothers, close family relatives might have compelled them to engage in these actions, the Home for Human Rights continues, poverty might have pushed them towards it, curiosity might have got the better of it we don t know for certain, so how can we put across a punishment so brutal. This is appalling and they shouldn t do it, she concludes.
Proactive methods that would benefit both should be analysed and taken. Our responsibility to protect the children and pr girls are far greater, the Home for Human Rights said, we should let the citizens be aware of it but this is not the best way to do so.
`Pornography is tearing apart the fabrics of the society. The authorities should be concerned in saving the society as well as the children/girls involved in this business. But as the commissioner of the NCPA as well as the Home for Human Rights say would this build up or crumble the lives of the 21 girls whose photographs is to be publicized? Will it help save the lives of the children or tear them apart shred to shred? Should or should not the harm or the benefit on the girls character and future be more analysed and then come to a final decision? Should you let a girl s life and character and her future crumble away for faults of the producers of this pornography? Shouldn t it be their photographs that should be up on papers and walls instead of these girls?