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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 07:39 GMT
Canada targets child porn on net
graphic child porn/police
The Canadian Government is introducing what it calls some of the world's toughest legislation to combat child pornography on the internet.

A new bill will make it a crime not only to produce or transmit indecent images of children, but also to access them.

The bill will also allow prosecutions in Canada for offences committed abroad.

The Canadian Justice Minister, Anne McLellan, said the bill was intended to keep pace with new technology, which she said was being used to commit horrible crimes.

"All of us have an obligation to watch carefully and try and destroy these pernicious, ugly activities that prey upon children in our society," she said.

Jail sentences

Offences such as transmitting child pornography by e-mail, providing child porn web site addresses or exporting it from Canada would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

sex tourist
The bill will make it easier to go after Canadian child sex tourists

Accessing child pornography would mean a jail sentence of up to five years.

The bill is not meant to catch people who inadvertently open e-mail attachments or web pages that have child pornography, but those who "knowingly cause child pornography to be viewed," said a justice official said.

The legislation also clamps down on those who try to lure minors into sexual contact through the internet.

But internet service providers in Canada have warned that, although they are willing to close down child pornography websites if they are ordered to, the new measure will be difficult to police.

Mrs McLellan declined to say how the new law would be enforced, turning that matter over to the police.

The BBC's correspondent in Toronto, Lee Carter, says the bill is almost certain to become law because the governing Liberals have a majority in the federal parliament.

The legislation has been welcomed by authorities such as the Ontario Provincial Police's Child Pornography Unit - one of the most sophisticated teams of its kind in the world.

In Canada, the US and many other jurisdictions, it is already a crime to possess child pornography downloaded from a computer.

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See also:

07 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japan clamps down on child porn
15 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Asia's child sex victims ignored
23 May 00 | UK
Netting paedophiles online
27 Jan 00 | World
New weapon against child porn
19 Feb 00 | Education
Children warned against net predators
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