Gov't to toughen crackdown, punishment to root out porn distribution

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Gov't to toughen crackdown, punishment to root out porn distribution

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The government on Friday announced a set of measures aimed to eradicate pornography online, including blocking distribution channels and toughening crackdowns and punishment.

The set of measures came after Internet porn has been blamed for a recent spate of sex crimes against women and children that have triggered public uproar.

Last month, police launched one-month intensive patrols and crackdown on pornography, and caught nearly 400 people for possessing or distributing obscene materials online.

Under the envisioned plan, web hard-drive companies will be required to install anti-porn software on their Web sites prior to registering their business, and to operate it 24 hours a day, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.

Intensive monitoring and crackdown on the firms will be conducted on a regular basis, with violators to face up to three years behind bars or fines of 150 million won (US$136,786), the PMO said.

The government will also strengthen cooperation with Interpol to clamp down on child porn Web sites based on foreign servers, and actively push to join an international organization on the issue, it added.

To block underage youths from accessing online porn, smartphone makers and mobile phone operators will be required to install anti-pornography software onto those devices used by adolescents.

Last year, nearly 55 percent of male students in middle and high school said they watched porn online, while 12.3 percent of teenagers viewed such material on their mobile phones, up from 7.5 percent in 2010, according to data from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Penalties for violating the child porn law will also be toughened, with details to be finalized after a parliamentary decision, according to the government.

To help teachers and parents better control their children regarding obscene materials, the government said it will come up with education programs and guiding manuals, along with launching awareness-raising campaigns.

"Coupled with tougher crackdowns and punishment, raising public awareness about how serious the problem is caused by obscene materials in order to root them out of our society," Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said, while presiding over the meeting on the issue. (Yonhap)

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