'377 websites hosting child porn material taken down'

Irani said, "377 websites have been taken down and 50 FIRs filed"

Smriti Irani (PTI photo)

As AIADMK MP Vijila Sathyanath made a passionate plea to ensure complete ban of child pornography on internet, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday said the Centre is trying to make the district administration the fulcrum of a coordinated effort in this even as such content on 377 websites have been taken down.

While Irani said 50 FIRs have already been filed and would be intimating MPs about the methodology of reporting such incidents, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu remarked that what is required is action at the local level but "unfortunately, that is not happening in spite of the law, in spite of the Minister's direction", which is "really painful".

"Parents are having mental agony and nobody is able to say anything," Naidu said during Zero Hour as he directed the Minister to have a consultation with some MPs who are interested and come out with some more ideas that could be shared with Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for further action.

Irani said she associated with the angst enunciated by Sathyanath and requested each MP and district office to report about such things. "It is also my endeavour to get their support so that such content is taken down immediately," she said.

Raising the issue, Sathyanath said she was talking about the issue with "agony and heavy heart" and narrated about a telephone call she received last week from a mother who told her that her child has a smart phone where he could find easily find pornographic material.

"She pleaded me to do something. She said, she couldn't see his child doing this. Last week, a 16-year-old tribal girl in the western district of Dharmapuri was raped by two boys. A 14-year-old girl was subject to repeated sexual assault by a minor boy. Every day, when we see newspapers, rape cases of minor children are reported. An 11-year-old girl with hearing impairment was sexually assaulted for six months at her apartment complex," she said.

Quoting figures by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, she said there were 5,951 complaints about child abuses in the last three years. The WHO estimates that globally, up to one billion children aged 2 to 17 years old have experienced physical assaults.

"Pornographic material is everywhere. You cannot get rid of it. Porn makes up for 30% of the total data transferred across the internet. That is why it is very unsafe for children who are using smartphones to play online games. Actually, I have seen in many advertisements, the Google browsers add pop-ups, which has a lot of these images, it is rubbish. Children, as young as 8 to 9 years, are coming across sexually explicit material on the internet and in the other media," she said.

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