The Senate is currently drafting a bill that proposes to penalize the “reckless promotion of pornography” as a response to the public uproar stemming from explicit videos involving a few Palauans that were circulating online.
The proposed bill, authored by Senate President Hokkons Baules, recommends to amend the existing law in Palau, the 17 PNC §4904, that currently covers and prohibits only the realm of commercial pornography. The proposed bill is still being worked out on and has yet to be introduced to the Senate in the next session.
A copy of the draft of the proposed bill that was obtained by Island Times reveals the attempt to penalize the promotion of pornography as a Class C Felony instead of just a misdemeanor and to impose penalties of up to five years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
“The Olbiil Era Kelulau (Palau National Congress) believes it is a moral imperative that we legislate to prevent the release of pornographic material,” the legislative findings stated.
“The Olbiil Era Kelulau would like to firmly express its abhorrence and shame at the content of recent pornographic viral videos that have impacted our society lately. They are not representative of our people and they are not representative of our society that has endured strongly for many thousands of years,” it added.
It even brought up that even though free speech law protects many modes of expression, it does not protect obscenity as it “has no value to society.”
The drafted bill also recommends to charge a person of intentional promotion of pornography if he or she “willfully disseminates any pornographic material, produces, presents, directs, and releases pornographic performances, and participates in that portion of performances that makes it pornographic.”
It also suggests to charge a person of reckless promotion of pornography if he or she shared the pornographic material to other individuals not involved in the creation of the smut even if it is unintentional.
The lack of technical know-hows could not also be used as a ground to justify any possible unintentional sharing of a pornographic content to other parties as the draft points out that these are “not relevant in determining whether someone recklessly promotes pornography.”
The proposed bill is still subjected for a review before it is planned to be introduced in a senate session. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)