Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hungary: Teen Porn May be Legalized

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY -- A bill modifying Hungary's penal code could allow pornographic material involving 14- to 17-year-olds to be made and kept for personal use.

The Justice Ministry said the draft proposal, presented last month by Hungarian Justice Minister Jozsef Petretei, was in line with European Union norms which give members states the right to regulate the issue at national level.

But Opposition lawmakers attacked the proposal as "legalized pedophilia" and a family welfare group described it as "the waiting room of prostitution."

Petretei said Monday that the proposal had taken into account the age in Hungary — 14 — at which consensual sexual relations are allowed.

"If we consider people 14 years of age to be mature enough to consent to sexual acts, then the chance to make picture recordings of this ... can also be allowed," Petretei told lawmakers in parliament.

The minister added that if deputies felt the issue offended their "moral sensitivity," they could propose changes to the bill.

Petretei also said that to bring Hungarian laws in line with EU norms, the ministry was also advocating changes in the same bill which would increase penalties for some other porn-related issues.

The center-right opposition parties strongly criticized the plan.

"This is a scandal," Miklos Soltesz, from the opposition Christian Democratic Peoples Party, told state television. "We initially thought the intention to legalize child pornography was government insanity ... but it seems they're serious."

Idiko Gall Pelcz from Fidesz, the largest center-right opposition party, described the proposal as "legalized pedophilia," calling it "revolting and distressing."

"I can only hope that there will be many of us here in parliament who agree ... that to make pornographic recordings of minors is not part of and not a necessary condition of natural sexual development," Gall Pelcz said in parliament.

A civic group described the plan as "the waiting room of prostitution."

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT USAToday.com

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