Instead of decriminaliіation – increased responsibility for pornography: the Parliament is preparing an alternative draft law

Two weeks ago, a group of deputies headed by Yaroslav Zhelezniak registered draft law No. 9623, which is designed to decriminalise voluntary adult pornographic materials. The text of the draft law was developed by a working group with the participation of the Parliament Law Enforcement Committee, state bodies and public organisations.

As it became known, People’s Deputy Vladlen Nekliudov is registering an alternative bill. The authors of the new bill claim that it is designed to protect children and decriminalise those pornographic materials that do not involve receiving funds. At the same time, the authors of the alternative draft law write that the distribution of porn “for personal non-selfish motives is not socially dangerous”, but if it involves a reward, then it is a socially dangerous crime.

Experts from BRDO and public organizations, which took the initiative to decriminalise pornography in Ukraine and participated in the development of bill No. 9623, analysed the alternative draft law. Our conclusion: the alternative bill strengthens the minimum and maximum liability for adult porn, without changing the liability for child porn.

What do the norms of the alternative bill provide?

  • To keep the criminalised status of pornography unchanged is to recognise as criminals and prosecute persons engaged in the production or distribution of pornography.
  • Recognising the free distribution of porn as a crime – the distribution of any pornographic content remains criminalised. If spouses send their own nudes, they can also be held criminally liable.
  • Increase the maximum liability under Article 301 to 12 years in prison (from the current 5 years).
  • Increase the minimum fine for distributing porn by 5 times – from UAH 17,000 to UAH 85,000.
  • Remove responsibility in the form of restriction and deprivation of freedom for creating or distributing pornography without the consent of the depicted person.
  • Do not change article 302 – “maintenance of places of debauchery and prostitution”. That is, the organisers of hotels, parties or web studios will continue to bear the risk of criminal liability.
  • The old subjective definition of pornography is returning as “cynical, obscene fixation of sexual acts, “…” sketches from nature, which are intended to cause sexual excitement.” Works of classical art, such as the statue of David, may fall under this definition.

Thus, the authors of the alternative bill actually propose:

  1. Leave the production and distribution of pornography in Ukraine criminalised;
  2. Continue to spend the time of law enforcement officers on the fight against porn with the voluntary participation of adults
  3. Continue to recognise as criminals volunteers who collect funds for the support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on nudes;
  4. To worsen the situation of the defendants who began filming porn because of their difficult financial situation;
  5. Increase sanctions for porn, which increases corruption risks.

BRDO opposes the alternative bill. It will worsen the current situation and deepen the problems, the need to solve which has been supported by more than 20 public organisations (among which are the associations of volunteers and the military).

We call on people’s deputies not to support the alternative draft law registered by People’s Deputy Vladlen Nekliudov, and call on the Parliament Committee on Law Enforcement to recommend adopting the main draft law No. 9623.