Sweden to tighten child pornography laws

Sweden's government is meeting on Monday to bring forward new legislation that will prohibit the viewing of child pornography. The centre-right government is also hoping to put in place more rigorous age restrictions regarding the production of pornographic material.

Once passed, the government’s proposal will be sent to the Council on Legislation (Lagrådet) for approval before the bill is put to a parliamentary vote.

Currently, only possession of pornographic material featuring children is illegal in Sweden. In practice, this means that anybody who looks at pictures or videos of child pornography can escape punishment by taking care not to download any files.

The government hopes to close this loophole by passing a new law that will come in effect on July 1st 2010.

Monday’s government session will also deal with another step in the legislative bid to combat child pornography as the government proposes the introduction of a strict age limit into the legal definition of child pornography.

Under the proposed terms, pornographic images of children under the age of eighteen will be classified as child pornography.

However, since the second stage of the law requires a constitutional amendment, it must be approved by two consecutive governments. Part one is expected to be pushed through at Monday’s extraordinary government meeting.

The government then hopes that the second phase will be completed shortly after next September’s general election, enabling the new age limit to come into force on January 1st 2011.

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