Mixed Messages

April 23, 2007

That these two news stories appeared on the same day makes me chuckle. From a story in the UK paper the Guardian, “Watchdog: Online Child Porn More Brutal,” we hear that

Child pornography on the Internet is becoming more brutal and graphic, and the number of images depicting violent abuse has risen fourfold since 2003, according to an Internet watchdog report published Tuesday.

The report comes from the Internet Watch Foundation, which may be a European version of the USA based NCMEC, an organization that’s been know to toss around unsubstantiated figures about child porn. (See The $20 Billion Lie)

Across the globe comes a story on the AsiaMedia site, “Magistrate clears magazine of wet T-shirt child porn charge,” where we learn that

Easy Finder magazine was acquitted yesterday of publishing child pornography when it ran pictures of a young pop singer in a wet T-shirt.

Kwun Tong Magistrate Gary Lam Kar-yan conceded that one of the four pictures of Renee Lee Wan, published last June when she was 14, did suggest the outline and shape of her left breast and nipple.

However, he acknowledged that all parties, including her mother, her agent and her wardrobe artist, agreed the girl was wearing an “invisible” silicon self-adhesive bra, more than 1cm thick and flesh-coloured, under her white camisole.

This “nude” bra meant it was almost impossible to reveal her chest, Mr Lam said, adding that he was not convinced the pictures amounted to a sexual depiction of her breast.

Sarcasm: on – Just think of the harm this poor child would have suffered if the photo had been declared to be child porn. By finding that the photo was not in fact child porn, the magistrate has actually spared young Renee Lee Wan a lifetime of abuse. See example #1 in The Big Lie for details. – Sarcasm: off

Maybe a sensible definition of child porn (unlike this one) could help us resolve the dilemma between whether child porn is increasinly “brutal and graphic” or whether it is the outline of a 14-year-old girl’s “silicon self-adhesive bra” covered breast.

I apologize to my regular readers (all two of you) for being so quiet recently. This case however really struck me, because it didn’t fit the mold that’s so typical for child porn busts of minors. Usually, minors busted for child porn have taken pictures or video of themselves or friends having sex or whatever. They then make the mistake of sharing, sending, or otherwise posting those images. Soon, police are involved, and the minors are being prosecuted as child pornographers.

In this case though, a 15 year old girl is accused of possessing and distributing child porn, but the images are not of herself or anyone else she knows. It seems men aren’t the only ones interested in child porn, teenage girls want to get in on the action too. Take this all with a grain of salt though, since the source, the Edmonton SUN, has a rather tabloid-ish feel to it. But don’t trust me. Read it for your self. Think people, think!

Follow up:

As a commenter notes, the original Edmonton SUN article is no longer available online. As requested, I’ll post some excerpts from the original I printed.

GUELPH, Ont. — A 15-year-old girl from Wellington County has been arrested for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography.
The girl appeared in court yesterday and is expected back in court on May 9.
Her identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Provincial police say the girl was arrested in mid-March following a two-month online undercover investigation.
Sgt. Terry Paddon would not reveal much about the investigation, but said it did not involve direct contact between police officers and the accused.
Paddon said images of child pornography were allegedly distributed over the Internet.
Police were surprised by the age and gender of the accused, Paddon said.
“It’s very uncommon,” he said. “That is a very uncommon occurrence … for us to find females committing any offences with relation to child pornography.
“The fact that she’s a young person makes it that much more unique.”
He said the photos are not of the suspect, nor do they appear to be of anyone she knows.
“We don’t know who the children are,” Paddon said. “They’re not local.”