Point of View and the Internet Democracy Project are organising a conference in order to hold and facilitate an informed conversation on sexual expression, pornography, sexual exploitation and consent. This conference is a first attempt to have an in-depth civil society conversation – among activists, lawyers, researchers working on either gender, sexuality or internet rights, or at their intersections. It will take place on 28-29 October in Delhi.
We believe it is the right time to have a national conversation on these related issues given recent and emerging policy trends.
The legal definition of ‘sexual exploitation’ may be expanded to include sexualized images of women offline and online and to re-interpret sexual trafficking. The Supreme Court has asked the Indian government to detail its stand on this by 13 October.
In 2013, a parliamentary committee discussed the need to enlarge the scope of the Indecent Representation Act, 1986 to bring new forms of communication like the internet and mobile etc within the ambit of the Act.
As gender, sexuality or digital rights activists, many of us have been discussing these related issues in smaller groups. Some of us have made submissions to the Rajya Sabha against banning online pornography. Some of us are conducting research to better understand these issues.
But we have yet to have a cross-movement dialogue around these issues. We have yet to develop a collective voice that articulates our realities, positions and concerns. We may aspire to change the conversation around these issues, but our voice is missing, invisible or not adequately heard in the public, policy and legal discourses surrounding them.
This conference is a first attempt to have an indepth civil society conversation – among activists, lawyers, researchers working on either gender, sexuality or internet rights, or at their intersections.
Day 1 – Wednesday, 28th October 2015
9-9.30 Who Why What Why now? (Introductions, Objectives, Agenda)
9.30-10.30 Keynote: Porn Again! The Thrills and Threats of a Fugitive Genre
Shohini Ghosh, Sajjad Zaheer Professor of Media
AJK Mass Communication Research Center, Jamia Millia Islamia
10.30-11 Tea & coffee
11-12 ‘Memory dekhna hai kya?’: Sexual Expression in the Digital Age
Panel (30 minutes – 5 minutes each)
Shals Mahajan, LABIA, queer feminist & writer
Prabha Nagaraja, TARSHI, sexual and reproductive rights activist
Nidhi Goyal, POV/CREA, gender & disability rights activist
Meena Seshu, SANGRAM, sex workers’ rights activist
Avantika Mehta, The Hindustan Times, journalist
Jaya Sharma, Kinky Collective, queer feminist & BDSM community member
12-1.15 The Legit and the Illegit: The Contours of Sexual Expression
Panel (35 minutes – 7 minutes each)
Kalki Subramaniam, Sahodari, on transbodies, programmed images, sexual exploitation
Nayantara Ranganathan, Internet Democracy Project, on private censorship
Smita Vanniyar, Point of View, on how platforms treat sex ex as gendered
Siddharth Narain, SARAI, on online hate speech related to gender/sexuality
Rohini Lakshane, Centre for Internet & Society, on amateur porn
2.15-3 The Faultlines of Consent
Real Net Natives, a 15-minute video by Aritra Bhattacharya for CCDS
A Short History of Consent, a 10-minute visual walkthrough by Bishakha Datta, POV
3-3.30 The Imagined, the Perceived and the Real: Where is the harm?
Group work (30 minutes)
3.30-4 Tea & coffee (in groups, if needed)
4-4.45 Report back (30 minutes) Discussion
4.45-5.30 Sexual Expression in the Law: What does it mean?
MS Nappinai, Technology Law Forum/Supreme Court Bar Association
Responses: Namita Malhotra, Alternative Law Forum/Amba Salelkar, Equal Centre for Promotion of Social Justice
Day 2 – Thursday, 29th October 2015
9-9.30 Recap refresh: key points from yesterday, flagging unfinished agendas
9.30-10.15 Keynote: Digital Manipulation: Selves, Selfies and Sunny Leone
Paromita Vohra, ParoDevi Pictures, filmmaker, writer and columnist
10.15-11 Children, Sexuality, Abuse and Expression
Panel (30 minutes – 15 minutes each)
Vidya Reddy, Tulir Centre for the Prevention & Healing of Child Sexual Abuse
Anuja Gupta, RAHI Foundation
11-11.30 Tea & coffee
11.30-1.30 Laws, Lives and Expression
Panel (15-20 minutes per speaker with questions after each)
Anja Kovacs, Internet Democracy Project, on summary of objections to porn ban
Debarati Halder, CCVCC, on Indecent Representation of Women Act
Aarthi Pai, CASAM, on bid to define sexual exploitation
Flavia Agnes, Majlis, on related legislative and judicial patterns
2.30-3 Video: It’s Time For Porn To Change (TEDx Talk by Erika Lust, 12 mins)
Video: Krutch (Experimental short film by Clark Matthews, 4 minutes
Video: Make Love, Not Porn (TEDx Talk by Cindy Gallop, 4 minutes
3-3.45 Defrocking the Law
Namita Malhotra, ALF, on defining/understanding obscenity – 5 minutes
The Prurient, the Explicit, and the Private
An exploratory study on Section 67, 67A and 66E of the IT Act – 20 minutes
Bishakha Datta, Jasmine Lovely George, Smita Vanniyar, Arpita Bhagat (P
3.30-4 Tea & coffee
4-4.45 Group work on key takeaways/principles
4.45-5 Report back
5-5.30 Next steps, way forward, wrap up