Nepali Times
Politically Cracked
Let's talk about porn


SEE NO EVIL: Banning porn might be harder than just blocking websites, as this stall at Pokhara Airport suggests.
I am concerned that the title of this article might get the Nepali Times website banned because the government has recently decided that websites that include 'sex' in their content are dirty and should not be accessed.

The initial list of banned websites included explicitly adult websites along with more innocent ones, including the website for punk band the Sex Pistols, the movie Sex and the City, and the news aggregator The Huffington Post. It showed that the authorities, in this case the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, are completely out of touch with basic cultural and media milestones. It also highlighted the fact that sorting out the wheat from the chaff is an incredibly difficult task.

The Home Ministry said the ban was enforced because young people are addicted to porn, and are running around crazed committing sex crimes. Except there have been no studies on the link between porn and crime in Nepal and there are no numbers to prove there is one. In fact, sex crimes actually declined following the legalisation of pornography in Denmark in 1969. This is not to diminish the role of aggressive law enforcement, longer prison sentences, scientific investigation methods, and community programs in curbing crime. What was remarkable in Denmark, however, was that as soon as the blue stuff became easily available, interest in pornography went down and sales of all kinds of porn material declined.

In the mainstream newspapers, there seems to be an unwillingness to challenge the wisdom of the ban, perhaps because talking about sex or images of sex openly isn't very becoming in Nepal. This ban, however, isn't just about porn but what could come after. If the reason is that porn is simply 'bad', then it is not and should not be the government's job to enforce morality.

There are legitimate arguments about the vices of the porn industry. Studies have shown that child pornography is the fastest growing form of porn on the internet. Many countries have restrictions on child porn and forced participation, and those producing or marketing porn must register their activity and pass appropriate inspections to address these concerns. Around 10,000 porn films are made in Hollywood every year and, as most of Tiger Wood's mistresses will testify, there are women who do want to make a living out of it. That illegal activities are present in an industry is not always an argument for banning the whole industry, otherwise most industries would be banned.

The real problem is that of censorship. This infringes on two pillars of a free society Ė freedom of expression and freedom of information. Conversely, the restriction of these freedoms is essential to totalitarian societies such as China and Iran. If the government is allowed to restrict freedom of expression and information because of a shallow argument like 'porn is bad', how long until editorials that 'threaten stability' are prohibited?

Like the body searches on the road every night, the government has implemented the ban as an easy fix for crime. The fact that it has failed to demonstrate maturity and intelligence is all the more reason we should be wary of such attempts to limit individual freedom. Honestly, it might be a better use of their time if the bureaucrats educated themselves about the Sex Pistols. I would be happy to lend them a CD.

Plastic-free Ilam, PRABHAT BHATTARAI
A new life
New black list
Govt. to ban

1. who cares
Let's talk about porn!   ha ha frankly speaking, it is not possible to block, may be, more than million of sites. ... stupid bahuns running the govt. .... instead use govt. resources to limit voters card only to nepalese. by the way, how did NT get the add. of porn sites? did govt. publish it. ........... people running the govt. is so dumb that when they could only find a few dozen addresses in millions... they were suppose to simply say, they have started to block the sites. .... so that people wont find their incompetency......... cause of the a few dozen address, now people can tell how incompetent the govt. is that they can only manage to block a few dozen.. actually, with the list, we can say the sites on the list declined to pay bribe to the authority. may be what govt. is trying to say is, dont bother visiting those sites through normal means, and other than those sites are not blocked. i too have heard the decline in crime due to porn. and by the way, we have been hearing rape cases almost weekly, lately, and it seems like those rapist do not have access to porn and if they would had access, those rapes could have been prevented. why dont conservative running govt. understand that sex is one of the basic needs like food, shelter? actually, porn should be banned for older people above 35yr in nepal. while watching regular movies with others, when there comes romantic scene or kiss scene,,,, those scene becomes comical if i am watching with young ones... i get to tease them,,,,, but the problem here is not young one, its older ones.... they simply can not digest these scenes and which makes me uncomfortable. so from now on. the movies should advice "not for above 35yr old" instead of "18 and above". "Around 10,000 porn films are made in Hollywood every year and, as most of Tiger Wood's mistresses will testify, there are women who do want to make a living out of it. In fact, sex crimes actually declined following the legalisation of pornography in Denmark in 1969. "I am concerned that the title of this article might get the Nepali Times website banned because the government has recently decided that websites that include 'sex' in their content are dirty and should not be accessed. .........." INDU NEPAL has improved with her style of writing as well as the contents. now govt. should ban NT for publishing soft pron: XX pictures and distributing the list of pron sites. week or so ago, i saw XX picture on a national english daily.

2. Maharajadhiraj
lovely article Indu...! but I guess its all a little too late. our intellectually challenged bureaucrats seem to have succeeded in imposing ultra-puritanism without so much of a murmur from media in general. What are we now? Saudi Arabia of South Asia??? Turkish PM said with a grin when harangued by EU mandarins about his Youtube ban, "My son showed me how to get in". Seems nobody told our dimwit policymakers that its just a matter of double-click step to circumvent the ban. besides, their argument seems to be - teenagers see porn and it turns their minds into lust. Somebody please tell these policy world village idiots - you can show a typical teenager a log of wood, and his mind turns into lust. Lets hope the ones who cant access porn now don't step out on the streets to vent their sexual frustration on women... !

3. kirsten
I remember when I lived in Nepal in the mid 1980s seeing men going up steep  stairs to crowd into small rooms where they could, for a fee, watch porn. I didn't know what they were doing at first, but I was curious why so many men would be headed up the stairs to this one little house all day and night! I assumed it was a brothel but soon learned the truth from my brother who, on a visit from the USA decided to go check it out!  I also remember a Nepali friend of mine, a police officer who was stationed in Biratnagar, tell me how he and his friends would cross the border into Bihar to watch porn films, some fairly explicit, including bestiality and the like. He feigned shock at this, but clearly he was enjoying it! This was, by the way, in 1985. Porn is nothing new, prostitution is nothing new. I am disturbed at how much of it seems to glorify violence towards women, however, and I did all I could to keep my son (now 21) away from it as a teenager. But he is an adult now and free to do what he wants.  Banning porn won't make it go away. I say, get over it. I personally, as a woman, don't really "get turned on" by porn! And most men, after about, oh, say, 7 minutes or so (tops, if they are lucky!) get bored, too. 

4. rita
With the beautiful and explicit depictions of sex act on the temples (and most being virtually impossible to emulate), depicted  in all imaginable permutation and combination, including at the place of highest Order of all --Pashupatinath, who needs the website.. :)

5. rita
One more thing: Speaking of violence against women, look at all the Islamic world where even showing an ankle is considered  pornographic --forget about the websites, sensual posters, and movies.  Without any of these western "sins" in these Islamic nations, they are the most oppressive society when it comes to treatment of the women. (Have they executed that woman in Iran, by the way?)  I am not sparing the Hindu societies either the way they treat their girls, wives, and the women in general. All of these way before the time of the internet...and the playboy magazines.  Well, as for the Christians, go read the Bible to find out how to treat women (or mistreat them that is).

6. Mamata Pokharel
Thanks Indu for writing this. I too was surprised when nobody in the media said a word about the ridiculousness of the whole affair. But guess I didn't realize how deep our collective sanctimony runs. 

7. here n there
This comment has been removed by the moderator

8. jange
# 4

If you cannot emulate then you are not trying hard enough!!

9. Aakar
It is great that, at least Nepali Times is talking about it... and btw, not only huffpost or sex pistol bt some ISP's blocked the whole '' subdomain blog as is a step to curb people's right to information.

10. R RAI

If an adult with a sound mind wants to enjoy watching a legally produced porn I have no objection or worry about it.

However, I am strongly against children and adolescents accessing porn,and adults accessing illegal porn.It is not only me but the entire civilised and democratic world's view.

If we cannot regulate it, it is far better to ban it(no one would be seriously harmed).

I am surprised a woman writer is advocating porn. Even legal porns mostly demean and misportray women.Many encourage violence and maltreatment of women.

11. ripvanwinkle
few of the sites that are banned have nothing to do with porn. is it a crime that i prefer to watch porn then to go out to dance bars. porn is cheap and safer in many ways. anyway i alwasys thought that internet was for porn. and im not the only one and sincerly if its been banned for creating social unrest i think the govt should start with banning itself and all other gundas in politicals skins first.

12. R RAI

Of course, the authority must have been selective and discriminated something like sex pistol from porn.

As regards the Danish study, the writer has not elaborated on it.It could very well be porn industry( billion dollars industry) sponsered study. Also, crime is such a complex thing even the best study cannot be reliable as there are so many factors that interplay.There are studies in support of banning porn as well.

Don't forget there are very few intelligent women from stable family background who become porn actresses-most have been exploited into it(due to their intellectual or psychological weaknesses).

13. stupid cow
85% of you people follow the religion that worship shiva's huge lingam..., your unesco heritage sites are full of statues and carvings of gods in love postures that will even inspire jenna jameson et. al.... you people are the ones that are wholeselling your sisters to brothels in india... you people ban some 100 porn sites to make your country porn free.... what a joke of a country, what a joke of the people that live there... stupid retards...

14. touristo
Who is this Anna Purna that's in all the mags at the airport stall?  Some famous porn star, apparently...

15. kirsten
So true, Rita. If you've ever traveled in countries like Qatar, go to any fancy hotel at night and check out the discos and clubs. Lots of Arab men with young, sexy, mostly Asian escorts/prostitutes. A friend of mine from Syria who now lives in the Czech Republic and is gay told me that homosexuality is not at all uncommon in Islamic countries like Syria, but that it is hidden. Same with porn. It is there, it always will be there, even in the most repressive of societies. Censoring it will only cause worse problems. 

16. Brad
Aside from being a futile effort, the blockage of porn sites seems to miss the real problem.

Nepali girls are still sold into into brothels in Nepal, India and elsewhere - literal slavery. There has been a proliferation of massage parlors and dance bars where women are exploited either by force or because they have no other options.

Efforts would be better spent targeting the trafficking of women and children and creating legitimate employment opportunities for women.

17. R RAI

Trafickng of women is a huge problem globally and we  must do something about it. However,topic here is porn.

Easy and indiscriminate access to porn may encourage prostitution and trafficking (definitely not reduce it).


18. Netra
We need to be careful not to link the two: porn and the treatment of the women.  Also, it is equally important for the "civilized world" people not to look down upon the "uncivilized people".

If you did not know this,  in the US, close to 5 million cases of violence against women (by their partner) are reported.  Close to 300000 women are raped every year.  So, even the civilized world is not so civilized when it comes to treating their women.   Kristen: you already told us the hidden world of the porn-free Islamic countries. We already know of not so hidden world in which women are not allowed go to school, drive, work, or talk to other men. Their clergies openly tell them to stone a woman to death, whereas the men are set free.  Inventor of the Kamasutra Hindus have their own problems: child marriages and the treatment of the widows.  But then hundreds of thousands of teenagers in the US walk around with swelled bellies -- as young as-- 14/15, causing socio-economic problems for the government.  All of them (Christians, Hindus, Islam, and Jews) still do not allow women to be a priest in their place of gods. 

So, we need to be careful not to stereotype each other.  

19. touristo
Who is this Anna Purna that's in all the mags at the airport stall?  Some famous porn star, apparently...

20. NL
KHOI KURA BUJHNA GARO. ABA BHANAM TA " what is good for NEPAL, we being nepali have to try to focus on protecting NEPALI society." Society have to bee free, human right have to be protected. Its difficult to say and decide what is right. For the most immediate remedy is to BAN otherwise we have a lot of NO BUSY group of people who are doing the work of seeing PRONO for their leasure.

21. brad
As stated in the article, there is no link to porn and sex crime. 

Yes, trafficking of women is rampant worldwide, but there are few places where it is as widespread (and often ignored/accepted)  as in Nepal. 

My point is that, in a country with so few resources, it seems silly to spend so much energy futilely blocking porn sites, when in nearly every corner of the country young girls are being sold into sexual slavery. The government needs to prioritize.

22. Salil
Nepali bureaucrats have acted with naivete while imposing bans on a list of sites. While banning the sites would not solve the problem any bit, denying access to those who are under aged could be a good idea. The pupils would in no time, turn to the printed stuffs, glorifying and teaching sexually explicit materials that are perverted. More than a decade ago, when we were the school going lads, the internet was not a home phenomenon, but then they pupils who wanted to have access to the sexual contents could hand pick the stuffs from the alleys of Ratna Park that was famous for any such thing. I disagree, that banning the sites would decrease the sex crimes, but may in fact increase it as the juvenile offenders may go and act it out rather than watching it in the confines of their rooms. It goes without saying that the Government has been a subject of ridicule when they have banned the Huffington Post amongst other websites. Don't they need to be educated? They do certainly !

23. KiranL
# 19:
The reason the map of Annapurna is on the picture is because someone probably thought it was Anna Porna.  :-)

24. Anonymous
History repeats again! So the story goes... During the Rana rule a 'bahun baje' was caught red hand with a packet of condom (which apparently was banned at the time!) in his pocket while entering the southern border into Nepal. For the "crime" his head was shaved twice and four piglets were hung around. The guy was publicly humiliated and ridiculed for possessing the "hot stuff". Worse, he lost his caste in Hindu hierarchy! Condom once portrayed  as an instrument of immorality and sin, was actively promoted by the successive rulers of a Hindu Kingdom as a tool for "family planning," with advice from the home-based and overseas pundits! Ironically, every Hindu worships the phallus of Lord Pashupati (Shivalingum) daily, with  what dream in his/her mind, God knows! The temples are full of depictions of sexual postures, kind of advertisement of "Kama Sutra in-action" in open theaters. Lo and behold, after one hundred or so years of the infamous 'kondom kanda', now another set of rulers banned porno, as if to prove that the current stagnation in the country is solely to be blamed to pornography! My humble suggestion to the pundits--better provide sex education to the young generation. Restore your sanity, and stop sanitizing the media!!

25. kirsten
Neta, lighten up! We're not talking about obesity in the western world or whether or not Islamic women in some countries can't drive and may be stoned for adultery (not all Islamic countries, by the way. Ever been to Morocco?). This article addresses the question of whether the Nepal Govt should censor porn or censor any website, for that matter. Ever read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury? If not, I urge you to read it. The novel is classified as science fiction, but it is really a social criticism that warns against the danger of suppressing thought through censosrhip. The science ficion was a vehicle to convey the message that oppressive government left unchecked can do irreparable damage to society by limiting the creativity and freedom of its people. That means, like it or not, that porn, too, should not be censored. Individual business owners, schools and parents should make efforts to keep porn out of the hands of young people who are not ready to handle such sexuality. But it is not the role of government to do so. Once they do, you are leading down the road of those oppressive Islamic regimes like Saudi Arabia or Iran where censorship occurs and women are stoned. 

26. who cares
porn law:

1: only for private use.

2: those viewing in public place should be punished big. including offices, schools etc.

3: distribution- outside residential area, only in major business areas. should not be distributed openly, no ad.

4: production should be banned.

5: if someone sends to those who do not want to receive should be jailed for a few weeks. and those sending to female or children should be jailed for months and if the sender has a history of bullying, mistreatment to female or others should be jailed for at least a year.

6: should be banned for below 24yr.

7: ...

i believe there are three types of rapist;
1: those who are excluded of sex and unable to control themselves. 
2: those who can't control their mine/ sick.
3: those who think they are above the law.

and i think, porn can reduce the rape cases committed by the first type. porn can reduce the business of red light area as well.

dont doctors use porn to find out if those pigs who are trying to ban porn are impotent or not. 


27. Netra
#25: : My message was that the banning porn site would not solve other peoblems such as: treatment of the women, sexual prosmuscity, sexual perversions, battered women's shelters (trust me there are quite a few in the US too; abandoned children --close to 1 million a year runaways), beastiality (so much for civilized and uncivilized worlds), .  Porn or no pron sites, all countries do face socio-economic problems, including the western world.  So, let's not pretend to be holier than thou, and let's come up with more sensible solutions... banning is not the answer.  I agree.

28. Nepali
Thanks for writing this insightful article. The government (I didn't even know we had a government) is getting more and more ridiculous and laughably dictatorial by the day. What's next? Banning of movies and music for their sexual content? 

29. R RAI

@stupid cow - I find your comment rather harsh and impolite.

What you should understand is there are callous criminals across the world who are involved in human traficking. I bet your country is no exception.

Let us unite and find against this crime.

30. Bibek sharma
Thnaks Indu for the write up. You have reflected the reality that banning the porn will instead increase the sex crime, will never decrease it.With porn comes sex education which is very important.Those in the home ministry have easy access to sex as they can use their influence easily on worker and innocent girls. I had watched one similar video.
However, I'd like to point out another part of porn reality in Nepal. In the lack of legislation, some private videos are leaked and posted out on internet thus ruining the social status of those involved,especially woman.Even media in nepal need enough scholing as to teach they what makes news that benifit the community and what ruins it. Sometimes, I come across phone nos and email IDs of innocent girls posted in internet. Such practices should be completely banned and criminals should be prosecuted. But, it does not mean banning porn in Nepal wll solve such problem.
I take this opportunity to tell the Nepalese Girls that you should be very careful while chating or exposing or having sex with the strangers. Beware, there can be hidden cameras that would capture you and post on internet. Its due to positioning that man's face is often hidden from camera while woman's not. Have safe, timely and responsible sex.AND my last advise, its not only sexual desire and questions that solves but premerital sex also has psychological effects throughout your life if you happen to marry different partner.And, always stay away from and avoid sex with underaged girls, legally below 18.
God bless you all.

31. Anand
Very good analysis - this analysis gives the reality of the list -

32. population
i read somewhere that the total pop of nepal in the early 1900's was around 3-5 is now around 30 million?? it is still small compared to our immediate southern borders Indian states like UP, Bihar, West Bengal, etc. that all have 100 million plus population? will such articles as above or such law keep our pop relatively small?? i hope it does.  we can't be another bangladesh!!!!!!

33. another bahun

in few words.

censorship does not work, EDUCATION does, more through open discussion in and out of classroom,esp. in "closed" society like ours. cannot equate denmark study to here, different cultures (differnt folks, different strocks??). Prostitution has nothing to do with viewing porn, prstitution was pre-existing, in order to eleviate that, SCHOOLING to the poor and JOBS are required.

34. Naresh

I appreciate the topic and the writer daring to write about it.

First,the idiocy of those in charge in blocking these sites is emphatically 'yes'.

Freud,a man behind the psychoanalysis,would have smiled wryly about this issue.Human instincts,that are innate and carved in the deep subconscious and conscious , are full of libido.Libido is a form of energy, like sex, love (also as a allegorical sex),childhood phantasies,even passions for music and food. And ,they must be catapulted for mature and healthy life.The Economist once wrote about music,of general manifestations that they may rejoice or express us.But those on soothing music like Gajals and blues and rocks may dissent that music is a sort of auditory 'masturbation',which is a plausible hypothesis.Sorry for this word,however.It is no secret,and the writer better had it added up that the main googled domians in Nepal were "sex","porn","hot girls" etc. and etc.

But,mostly urbanites are lured to Internet facilities in Nepal.While big thorny issues apart,many may argue this is just hoopla.Nay,this is subtle cloak.Because,I see where the liberal societies are,the chance that individualism is respected is taken as sure.And,where the expression is ,there is feeling shared.And ,inversly and conversly,sex is the fourthmost important need for humans.

As a big fans of death genres like Opeth,I know the intensity with which passion the music is revered.I'll try Sex Pistols too.Huffinton Post,as many leaders don't know the magnificent articles the site is for.So much for half-balked ,lame brained traumatic leaders.


35. koji
For all you porn users out there, you know who you are, well worth reading this to educate yourselves as to the possible 'numbing' effect of porn.

36. Bhola

governmant has to make the rule against the crime, not like this kind of foolisness!!!

37. mingma sherpa

even goverment or any international law also cannot stop such a things from........human brain...because...its releted with sexsual activities  .better we need to give good sex education about  to our new generation and goverment need to make good sociel and political enviroment to people ......normally theses things  also help a lot of girls for survive in development country ....because they don"t  have any choice.coz of sites publisher take the advantage from these girls . goverment should make the exceptionalable rules for it, like in our traditional and relligious country so it can manage such a sites.......




(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)