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Indecent Representation of Women on Digital Platforms Proposed to Be Made Illegal

The amendments have been proposed keeping in mind the recent technological advancement in the field of communications.

Zeba Warsi | CNN-News18

Updated:June 5, 2018, 11:31 AM IST

New Delhi: Indecent representation of women on digital messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype, Instagram, etc has been proposed to be made illegal, according to amendments moved by the WCD Ministry.

The proposed amendments to widen the scope of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 are based on the observations made by a parliamentary standing committee and recommendations from the National Commission for Women.

The amendments have been proposed keeping in mind the recent technological advancement in the field of communications.

Moreover, the ministry has proposed to expand the meaning of the word ‘advertisement’ to include its various ‘digital and electronic forms or SMS, MMS’.

The ministry "proposed amendments in definition of distribution to include publication, license or uploading using computer resource, or communication device and amendment in Section 4 to include that no person shall publish or distribute or cause to be published or cause to be distributed by any means any material which contains indecent representation of women in any form".

Amendment in definition of term advertisement include digital form or electronic form or hoardings, or through SMS, MMS - WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Hike, Skype, etc.

The draft bill also proposes penalty similar to that provided under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and creation of a centralised authority under the aegis of the National Commission of Women.

This authority will be headed by Member Secretary, NCW, having representatives from Advertising Standards Council of India, Press Council of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and one member having experience of working on women issues.

"This centralised authority will be authorized to receive complaints or grievances regarding any programme or advertisement broadcast or publication and investigate/ examine all matters relating to the indecent representation of women," the statement read.

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (IRWA), 1986 prohibits indecent representation of women through advertisements, publications, writings, paintings, figures or in any other manner.

The amendment Bill was earlier introduced in the Rajya Sabha during the UPA government in December 2012, following which it was referred the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

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