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Swedish MP turns herself in for child porn offence

Maria Abrahamsson
Maria Abrahamsson

Maria Abrahamsson, a Swedish Moderate Party parliamentarian, turned herself in to the police for possession of child pornography. A sudden pang of conscience?
Not at all. The picture in question was a painting of US artist Tala Madanis, as reproduced in the pages of the Dagens Nyheter, a national daily newspaper. It was a rather crude image of half-naked men surrounding a child in a crib.

Abrahamsson gesture was meant as a protest toward current Swedish law about child porn, whose well-meant interpretation has gone arguably too far in recent times. Last year the country’s foremost manga expert and translator was accused (and later acquitted) for owning 40 Japanese drawings in his enormous reference collection – even if the pictures were clearly of a fantasy nature. The year before that, a mother who filmed her children taking a bath was arrested… even if the video was taken according to the suggestion of her attorney, as a proof of the abuses perpetrated by the children’s father.

While the publisher of Dagens Nyheter argued that there is a difference between art and titillation, the politician’s grand criticism is not entirely unfounded. The broad stance against child abuse fueled worldwide by media hysterics tends sometimes to patently excessive caution, with the risk of backfiring, turning perfectly normal and harmless behaviors into crimes. It may be worth remembering that most real abuse don’t happen by the hand of “mysterious strangers”, but within relatives, religious institutions and sport classes.

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