An Advocacy Workshop
on
'Justice to Women and Children: Pornography Control Act 2012'

2a

Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association (BNWLA) in association with ‘Community Legal Services’ (CLS) Programme organised an Advocacy Workshop on ‘Justice to Women and Children: Pornography Control Act 2012’. The workshop was held on 26 December 2016 at BRAC Center INN, Dhaka as part of implementing the project ‘Making Women Legal Rights- A Reality in Bangladesh’ (MWLR) funded by UKaid.

Ms. Syeda Zannat Ara, SP CID; Ms. Dr. Rasheda Rawnak Khan, Advisor, Cyber Crime Awareness Foundation Bangladesh and Ms. Shahanoor Akter Chowdhury, Project Coordinator, BLAST graced the workshop as Guests of Honour. Ms. Seema Zohur, Vice-President of BNWLA was the chair and Ms. Salma Ali, Executive Director of BNWLA was moderator of the workshop. The participants were relevant practitioner lawyers, police officials and NGOs.

The workshop commenced with the welcome speech by Ms. Seema Zohur, Vice President of BNWLA. Ms. Salma Ali then took the responsibility of moderating the discussion. Ms. Eshita Binte Shirin Nazrul, Manager-Research and Advocacy, presented the key note paper of this advocacy workshop, where she described the entire situation of pornography market and the new dimension of violence against women and children through pornography or cyber-crime in Bangladesh. She also mentioned the following objectives of the advocacy workshop:

  • To specify the successes and challenges of regulating pornography market
  • To eliminate the harassment of victims with their cases
  • How to modernise the process of preservation case related information/visual evidence
  • To specify the effective skill development training of relevant staff

Replying to a query on whether is it possible to block all porn sites, the State Minister said, “It should be kept in mind that we could not block cent percent sites, but if we can block 80 percent, it will be a notable achievement.”

2b

Earlier, on 28 November 2016, the Posts and Telecommunications Division (PTD) formed a committee to prepare a database of the websites spreading ‘pornography’ and ‘objectionable contents’ in cyber space. According to the PTD officials, the committee would prepare a full list of the websites of pornography and objectionable contents and formulate a three-tier technical proposal to curb the same. The proposal would include – immediate, interim and final action-plans. Additionally, mass awareness against pornography would also be raised.

The following recommendations came out of the Advocacy Workshop:

  • It is important to monitor the women and children friendly help desk, as well as the ‘Crime Data Management system’
  • ‘Raise awareness’ of how pornography harms every single person in every single community
  • Evidence-based women and child protection and systematic data collection on violence through pornography
  • Related technical skill development training is needed to enhance IT expertise
  • Improve policy or direction for internet, cyber cafe, TV network, CD-DVD shop and cable network to control the pornography market
  • Monitor and advance Women Support and Investigation Division
  • Work on strengthening parent-children relationship
  • Include the adverse effect of porn addiction on violence against women and children in education curriculum – education youngsters on digital technology
  • Develop the awareness and counselling of victims’ parents who do not go for mediation of pornography related cases

2c