The map is the territory

BBC NEWS | UK | Computer generated abuse ‘banned’

Ms Eagle said the plans were “not about criminalising art or pornographic cartoons more generally, but about targeting obscene, and often very realistic, images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society”.

Shaun Kelly, safeguarding manager for children’s charity NCH, said the proposals were a step in the right direction.

He said: “This is a welcome announcement which makes a clear statement that drawings or computer-generated images of child abuse are as unacceptable as a photograph.

Unacceptable? When you’re talking about sending people to jail for some long number of years, that sounds a little mealy-mouthed.

It remains to be seen exactly what the wording on this looks like. It seems weird to think that the brits will be able to send people to jail for pencil sketches of underage sex while there’s still a zillion-dollar market in dressing real kids in sexual costumes (just as long as they stay just this side of some unwritten line), taking pictures of them, selling products with them, even parading them around in pageants.

Or perhaps it’s the very prevalence of that commercial sexualized treatment of children and adolescents that makes people freak out so badly when artists trespass on similar territory.

Police shut down photographer Bill Henson’s exhibition, seized images and are also considering charging him.

His work, featuring naked 13-year-olds, was condemned by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as “revolting”.

But in an open letter, Blanchett and 42 other leading arts figures said the action risked damaging Australia’s cultural reputation.

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