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Germany: Court supports Landeszentrale für Medien und Kommunikation with posing photos

Published on: 30.05.07
Source: Press release of the LMK Rheinland-Pfalz

With its sentence of 23rd April 2007, the administration court of Neustadt/Weinstrasse legitimated four prohibitive orders issued by the Landeszentrale für Medien und Kommunikation (LMK) in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The LMK had objected to and forbidden websites showing underage girls in unnatural sexual postures. The website showed photos violating § 4 clause 1 no. 9 of the Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag (JMStV, Youth Media Protection Treaty) on the freely accessible pages and on the pages with costs.

The court confirmed the constitutionality of the corresponding rule. It further clarified that not only the posture of the model is relevant for judging whether a posture is unnaturally sexual, but also the other features of the photos, for example the clothes of the shown person, the environment, or the context, where the photo is presented.

With this sentence, all legal proceedings concerning the so-called posing photos initiated so far were decided in favour of the Landeszentrale für medien und Kommunikation and the Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM, Commission for Youth Media Protection), Manfred Helmes, LMK director and member of the KJM, said. This means that the legal proceedings came to a consistent end. Recently, the higher regional court of Celle confirmed a decision of the county court Hannover convicting the provider of a website where such photos were published to pay a fine.

The German JMStV prohibits pictures showing minors in unnatural sexual postures in order to protect children and youths against the belittling effects of such presentations. Such pictures give the impression that sexual contacts between adults and minors are something normal. Therefore they are often used by pedophiles "to tune in" the children and youths and to make them compliant to the intended abuse. The pictures constitute a serious risk that the possibilities of children and youths to fend sexual assaults by adults are impaired.

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