Subject: NEWS: UNESCO Conf: Internet Pedophilia Risks Weighed
From: Jyothi Kanics (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jan 21 1999 - 17:52:38 EST
04:16 PM ET 01/19/99
Internet Pedophilia Risks Weighed
By MARILYN AUGUST
Associated Press Writer
PARIS (AP) _ A UNESCO conference urged Internet providers and
parents Tuesday to combat pedophilia on the Internet but stopped
short of calling for the global legal framework many had hoped for.
Some of those attending the conference of the U.N. Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization said the recommendations,
passed by 325 experts from 40 countries, were not tough enough.
``The plan of action doesn't deal with the specific dangers of
child pornography and pedophilia in cyberspace,'' such as chat
groups, said Debbie Mahoney, president of the California-based
Safeguarding Our Children _ United Mothers.
Before, pedophiles were isolated, said Mahoney, whose
10-year-old son was abused 37 times by a neighbor. ``Now they are
online, telling each other that they're OK.''
But experts said they ran into the problem of differing
definitions of pornography throughout the world, and different ages
``It is difficult to come up with common standards when we don't
even have an internationally established definition of child
pornography,'' said Ofelia Calcetas-Santos of the Philippines, a
U.N. expert on the sale of children, child prostitution and child
The UNESCO conference, which ended Tuesday, called for
self-regulation among Internet providers to prevent children from
becoming victims of abuse and to make sure the 15 million kids
surfing the Internet don't see the sordid scenes of child
pornography accessible on many Web sites.
The plan of action also calls for UNESCO to play a key role in
collecting and diffusing legal information concerning pedophilia
and child pornography online. And it calls for close cooperation
among governments, international agencies, the computer industry,
educators and the media.
The plan recommends that parents use filters and screening tools
and calls for aggressive information campaigns about the long-term
harm suffered by sexually abused children.
It also urges the creation of national hot lines and an
international ``electronic watch tower'' where abused children and
their families can turn for immediate help.
``UNESCO has a real, vital role to play in forcing the Internet
service providers to confront the issues,'' said Agnes Fourier de
Saint-Mauri, who heads Interpol's special group on crimes against
The emphasis on self-regulation among providers disappointed
some attendees. Malta Marcovich, of France's Movement Against
Pornography and Prostitution, called it ``ridiculous.''
``We have laws against the incitement of racial hatred. We need
similar laws to combat the incitement of child pornography and
pedophilia,'' Marcovich said.
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