Friday, 31 May 2013

Media AVP (Anti Victim Prejudice) 1, "Indecent Images Of Children - a follow up"

Following my first post, (Media Prejudice), now that we all know that images and films of child abuse and child rape should never be referred to as any sort of "porn", the question now is what exactly should they be called?

Legally (in the UK and Jersey at least) they are referred to "Indecent Photographs of Children" (Protection of Children Act 1978UK Sexual Offences act 2003, and Protection of Children Jersey Law),  so if we want to be 100% accurate, we should always be using this term. However these laws only relate to the UK and Jersey - there is a big world out there, a world that in many places uses the term "child porn" not only in it's media, but in it's laws as well.

From a personal perspective, as these images and films depict either the sexual exploitation (at the lower end of the copine scale), or actual sexual abuse (mid to high end of this scale), I would use the term "child abuse images". This term covers both ends of the scale, actual abuse and abuse of privacy of the child. Whilst some images may not portray actual abuse, having a collection of images in the lower end of the copine scale for self-gratification and distribution by paedophiles would be considered in itself a type of abuse for the vast majority of people - especially if your image was in amongst such a collection.

Calling these "child abuse images" (shortened to "child abuse pics") would also help the media in another way. A lot of the replies I have received, particularly from the BBC, state that they only have a certain number of characters that can be used in a headline and "indecent images of children" simply would not fit, meaning that they prefer to use "child porn". Whilst personally I think that this is just a poor excuse, calling them "child abuse pics" is a much shorter and snappier way of describing this crime.

My challenge ( to the UK at least to start with) is to stop using this phrase. People have been highlighting this for years now, and so far it falls on deaf ears in far too many cases. Listen and try to understand views like this. Listen not only to people like myself who have not had to live through this hideous crime, but from actual victims of this crime who have had to grow up being re-abused continually by seeing their abuse described as "pornography" by prejudicial UK media organisations.

Child abuse is exactly what it says... child abuse, and a visual recording of this should be described the same.

Not Pornography.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Media AVP (Anti Victim Prejudice) 1 - "Indecent Images of Children"

Having spent a bit of time thinking about a relevant article in the media that best describes how not to report the crime of downloading / making indecent images of children, one tabloid immediately came to mind. Not that I am singling this particular paper out, but out of all the UK tabloids, this one uses the term that I am highlighting in this post, namely "child porn" on almost a daily basis.

My journey into the hell that is internet child porn

I wish the media would stop using this phrase. In reality, these are images of children who have been sexually exploited or abused - "crime scene photos". Using this phrase trivialises this crime hugely by labelling it as just another type of porn. We already have "food porn", "car porn" "poverty porn" - indeed anything and everything can be labelled as "porn". Should we be trivialising pictures and videos of child abuse by labelling them as just another "porn"?

Expanding on this a little, it could be said "yes", however we really need to be asking ourselves, would any normal person refer to these images and films as porn? My guess would be no, we wouldn't. Pornography is defined as "the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction", however the only people who would actively look at these images and describe it as such are paedophiles. Why should the media use such paedo-friendly language in their reporting - facilitating and helping paedophiles somehow justify their crimes? Answer - they shouldn't and they need to stop!

And what of people who have been abused and filmed? How do they feel having their abuse described as porn? Did they consent? Did they get paid to produce these abuse images and films for the sexual gratification of paedophiles? Of course not, and I am again taking a well educated guess that most take great offence having their abuse described as "porn".

Despite the fact that most child protection agencies actively discourage the use of this term, it is frustrating and disappointing that the media refuses to accept the prejudicial way that they report this crime.

The NSPCC state "The term child pornography remains a legal term in many jurisdictions and is commonly used in the media. However the NSPCC favours the term "child abuse images" as the NSPCC considers that to refer to images of child abuse as "pornography" detracts from the seriousness of the crime by implying that there is consent from the children involved and that it is neither abusive or harmful"

The IWF state "Please note that 'child pornography', 'child porn' and 'kiddie porn' are not acceptable terms. The use of such language acts to legitimise images which are not pornography, rather, they are permanent records of children being sexually abused and as such should be referred to as child sexual abuse images" (IWF).

The Phoenix Post state "Calling Indecent Images of Children ‘child porn’ is deeply offensive to the victims, it undermines their justice and recovery, it facilitates the paedophiles denial and helps them and the perverts to sell what are in fact ‘crime scene images’ on their own dark online market" (The Phoenix Pledge)

The excuses that I have been given by the various UK media are inexcusable and ignorant. Apart from the few that took time to think and see sense, the rest need to wake up and 'smell the coffee' I will be publishing some of the responses in my comments for you all to see.

As a post note, one paper has been particularly good in listening, hearing and taking action, and that is the Guardian. Not only did they agree to stop calling these images "porn", they went as far as to amend their style guide to reflect this as well (Guardian and Child Porn), one day it would be good to see all the UK media taking this stance.