This chapter considers a range of ‘communication’ offences. The main focus is the offence of publishing an obscene article, contrary to the Obscene Publications Act 1959, and the offences under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, concerned with the sending of false, indecent, or offensive messages. These offences are considered in the light of the right to free expression under Article 10 of the ECHR and the abolition of criminal defamation, and of the importance of allowing uninhibited political debate while protecting those taking part in such debate from abuse and threats.
David Ormerod and Karl Laird
This chapter deals with the offences addressed in the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964, and related offences. These offences not only have implications for freedom of speech but also raise important issues about the appropriate boundaries of criminalization. Obscene publications are governed by s 2(1) of the Obscene Publications Act 1959. This chapter also considers extreme pornography and other offensive communications offences such as malicious communications, obscenity in the theatre, possession of prohibited images of children, posting indecent or obscene matter, indecent displays, outraging public decency, revenge porn and recent proposals for reform.
Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on series provide an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This chapter examines law relating to the control of obscenity and indecency. It first looks at the arguments for and against restriction. It then discusses provisions for obscenity and indecency under the Human Rights Act 1998; legal methods to control the distribution and availability of obscene or indecent material; offences and other procedures which apply to printed material and internet publications; and controls over films, DVDs, videos, live performance, and broadcasting. The chapter also considers two types of general control which are not specifically linked to a particular type of publication or article. The first relates to the distribution of sexual material, and covers controls over premises. The second type of control is that covering the import of materials, and exercised by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).