Christians behind PNG proposed sexting ban, lawyer says

A Papua New Guinea lawyer says the influence of fundamentalist Christians from oversees is partly to blame for a proposed crackdown on sexting in PNG.

Constitutional lawyer Tiffany Twivey-Nongorr has called the proposed PNG ban an outrageous breach of human rights.

As part of a review of the Censorship Act, PNG’s Censorhip Board is considering banning sexting, the act of sending of sexually explicit messages or material by mobile phones.

Someone who sends an explicit message or picture could face up to five years’ jail under the proposal.

Ms Twivey-Nongorr said if the ban is implemented, she will consider a constitutional challenge to its legality.

“It’s a ridiculous, archaic, draconian piece of legislation that should never see the light of day,” she said.

“It’s ridiculous because it appears that the same mobile phone can be used to express verbally what is in a sext, but the minute that it’s typed into a text, it’s going to become illegal,” she said.

“It’s getting ridiculous – we’ve got to stop legislating morality from time to time and start focusing on the real issues in Papua New Guinea.”

She says there are already current laws to deal with people receiving unwanted sexts.

And police would struggle to enforce the ban, because there is limited documentation and many people use fake names when buying phones in PNG, she added.

Ms Twivey-Nongorr believes the proposed legislation is a combination of advisors not understanding PNG conditions and a growing influence of fundamentalist Christians from overseas.

“The only way it could be policed is by people reporting, and the only people that are going to report about it are those that receive sexts that are unwanted – and they’re covered by current legislation,” she said.

Ms Twivery-Nongorr said pornography is illegal in PNG, so any concerns on that front are already covered by law too.


Image: Radio Australia

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