20 January 2018
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MHA examines need for dedicated laws against child pornography: Shanmugam

11 Jan 2018
Wong Pei Ting

The Ministry of Home Affairs is looking at drafting dedicated laws against child pornography, and is in the midst of determining if such laws should carry higher penalties to send a stronger deterrent message on the crime.

This was revealed by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam in Parliament on Wednesday (Jan 10) in a reply to Holland-Bukit Timah Member of Parliament Christopher de Souza, who had asked for an update on the review of Singapore’s laws deterring online child pornography.

The draft laws will cover all activities surrounding the vice, from the making of pornographic material to distribution or possession of such material, said Mr Shanmugam.

When the proposal is completed later this year, members of the public will be able to give their recommendations, along with other proposals in an ongoing “major review” of the Penal Code he mentioned on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, he told Parliament that a committee had been set up in July 2016 to carry out the review covering areas such as laws that criminalise attempted suicide, martial immunity for rape, punishment for sexual offenders, and the need for new criminal offences.

The review committee is co-chaired by Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah and Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin. It includes 14 other members — made up of lawyers, representatives from the Attorney-General’s Chambers and police force, as well as academics from the National University of Singapore.

On the issue of access to child pornography, Mr Shanmugam said on Wednesday that internet content providers here are class licensed under the Broadcasting Act, and are thus required to ensure that child pornography is not hosted on their sites.

Should the prohibited material be found to be hosted here, the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore can direct the sites to take down the content, issue directions to block access to the sites, and suspend or cancel class licences of errant sites.

The police will also investigate where appropriate, he said.

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