• Sweden edition
 

Manga images 'not child porn': police expert

Published: 15 May 2012 11:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 May 2012 11:50 GMT+02:00

Björn Sellström, a criminal inspector of the National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalen) at the agency's child porn unit, has taken the opportunity to speak out about the problems with concentrating on cartoons while there are everyday risks of the “real” thing in Sweden.

He fears that if the suspected man, Simon Lundström, is convicted, it will change the face of how police proceedings take place.

“I am doubtful of how a conviction would benefit those children who are actually suffering from real abuse which is being documented,” he wrote in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

“Those children who are victims of documented abuse deserve more than to be put in the same category as these ‘human-like creatures’,” he wrote in the paper.

Lundström was found to be in possession some 52 pornographic images on his computer.

However, Sellström has argued that the so-called “manga” images do not constitute porn, as the fantasy characters are not even completely humanoid – let alone children.

The inspector wrote that investigators need a shift in focus towards the real instances of abuse and porn, and argued that time and money were being wasted chasing manga while children were continually suffering.

The trial begins at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:59 May 15, 2012 by karex
Agree with Mr. Sellström, wasting public funds on investigating cartoons when real children are suffering is an insult.
20:44 May 15, 2012 by bcterry
Any interest in child porn should be dealt with seriously. even cartoons, which show a propensity towards this kind of behavior.
20:59 May 15, 2012 by LL2423
#2 - If I play video games that involve shooting people, does that mean I will eventually go out and perform those actions in real life? Because that's the exact mentality that you're implying here.
21:12 May 15, 2012 by bcterry
#2, would you be comfortable leaving him alone with your children if you knew he showed an interest by having those cartoons?

Your video game comparison is apples and oranges, a completely different matter than a sexual interest towards innocent children.
21:26 May 15, 2012 by LL2423
#4 - It's not different as it's the exact same mentality. Showing a "normal" person images depicting fictional children performing sexual acts would not negatively affect them at all, other than possibly offending them.

If any type of medium influences you to perform an actual crime, there's something wrong with you as an individual, not the medium itself.
22:02 May 15, 2012 by bcterry
" Showing a "normal" person images depicting fictional children performing sexual acts would not negatively affect them at all, other than possibly offending them."

He wasn't "shown" the images, he had them on his computer.

They didn't magically appear out of nowhere.

IF, and that's a BIG IF, they did just appear out of nowhere, he had the option of deleting, which apparently must have slipped his mind.
22:10 May 15, 2012 by LL2423
I was referring to an entirely hypothetical situation, completely unrelated to Simon's case. And it has been stated before that Simon didn't seek out content like this exclusively, he mostly batch-downloaded a bunch of images without properly looking at them, if I remember correctly. Obviously "I didn't look before downloading" doesn't hold up in court, but hey, it shows that he wasn't actively looking for content like this.

Riddle me this, if you will: who has Simon harmed by being in possession of these images? Has any child suffered as a result? Should Simon be grouped together with people who actually rape children or produce child pornography?
09:12 May 16, 2012 by Mxzf
Simon collected all Manga images and comics he could get his hands on. A handful out of some 100,000 more or less unsorted images does not constitute 'show a propensity towards this kind of behavior'.

Also, if 'show a propensity towards this kind of behavior' is a problem - the action should not be prison, but healthcare. We should in that case probably test everyone for 'propensity' when they get 18, and just put everyone with 'propensity' in forced hospital care (asylums?) until they stop, is that what you meant?
14:55 May 16, 2012 by bcterry
If he had those images, and knew what they were, IMO, he should have deleted them immediately.

I know one thing, if they showed up on my computer they would be gone in a heartbeat.

What logical reason would anyone have to keep this in their files, other than the obvious?
20:27 May 16, 2012 by LL2423
Have you researched this case at all? Simon is a professional manga translator - his line of work requires him to have extensive knowledge within that specific field, and that includes erotic content as well.

And, as stated before, Simon genuinely had no idea that these images could get him into trouble. No sane person would put fictional child pornography and real child pornography in the same category. That's ridiculously insulting to the hundreds of thousands of children around the world who have been exploited sexually.

Since you didn't answer my previous question, I'll ask again. Who has Simon harmed? Who is the supposed victim in this case? Do you honestly think that the police should use their already limited resources to arrest people like Simon instead of going after actual pedophiles?
20:31 May 16, 2012 by bcterry
Since you didn't answer my previous question, I'll ask again. Who has Simon harmed? Who is the supposed victim in this case? Do you honestly think that the police should use their already limited resources to arrest people like Simon instead of going after actual pedophiles? "

Happy to address your question, but as you avoided my first question, let's take care of that first and then we'll go from there.

"would you feel comfortable with leaving your children alone with him if you knew he had those images filed on his computer?"
20:44 May 16, 2012 by LL2423
I would have no problem with that, at all. Real children and manga "children" have clear aesthetical differences (do I really even need to point this out), and there's plenty of "pedophiles" out there who keep their attraction limited to fictional entities.

The way I see it, there are two types of pedophiles: passive pedophiles and aggressive pedophiles. Passive pedophiles are the ones who are against child pornography (these people really exist, do some research) and would never ever exploit a child. Aggressive pedophiles are the ones who actually commit crimes. Despite their clear differences, they're grouped together because of this nonsensical law.

Of course it might be hard to judge who's aggressive and who's passive, but just looking at fictional images on the internet should not get you arrested. I'm done, now please answer my question.
21:24 May 16, 2012 by bcterry
I would have no problem with that, at all. Real children and manga "children" have clear aesthetical differences (do I really even need to point this out), and there's plenty of "pedophiles" out there who keep their attraction limited to fictional entities."

That's where we part company, i would never leave my child alone with any pedophile, passive or not.

Who has he harmed, i don't know, and i doubt you don't know as well.

Who is the victim in this case, no one i know of, but those who are attracted to these images may be stimulated by them to act out on a real child.

As i stated in my first post, any interest in child porn should be looked at seriously by the police, and if it leads to criminal activity, such as other images of real children, then they should be arrested, and prosecuted.

Limited resources should not be a factor when it comes the abuse of children, and i'm sure that what it takes to look into these situations is not a tremendous drain on those resources.
21:32 May 16, 2012 by LL2423
The difference here is that possessing fictional (read: not real) images of fictional children carrying out a fictional scenario is on an entirely different level than real children being exploited.

I'm entirely against the concept of child pornography, don't get me wrong, but I hardly constitute these images to be child pornography, as they depict children in a completely non-realistic manner. I still believe that it is entirely possible to be a fan of manga-style artwork without having an urge to sexually exploit kids (if this wasn't already obvious enough).

A person should not be prosecuted because of their fantasies, or for researching the fantasies of others. Last time I checked, freedom of expression was a part of the Swedish constitution. Having exceptions within such a law just destroys its purpose entirely.
22:44 May 16, 2012 by bcterry
"A person should not be prosecuted because of their fantasies, or for researching the fantasies of others. Last time I checked, freedom of expression was a part of the Swedish constitution. Having exceptions within such a law just destroys its purpose entirely. "

Where did i say he should be prosecuted for his fantasies or even these images?

Read what i said specifically.

"'m entirely against the concept of child pornography, don't get me wrong, but I hardly constitute these images to be child pornography, as they depict children in a completely non-realistic manner."

Have you seen these pictures?

If not, how do you know they depict children in a non-realistic manner?
23:45 May 16, 2012 by LL2423
"People" in manga-style artwork look different than real people. This is not merely a subjective opinion, this is a fact. Some of the images that Simon was intially prosecuted for were later considered "not inappropriate", and thus totally legal to view and download in Sweden. These are the images that I'm basing my arguments off of, but they apply to all other images as well, regardless of how "hardcore" they are. Nothing that is drawn and fictional should be considered illegal, period.
12:52 May 17, 2012 by jackjones
Cartoons imply no interest in real child porn. By the same logic, does that mean that people who watch crime dramas are "interested" in actually robbing banks? If you watch war films, does that make you a genocidal maniac? Of course not.

People should learn to differentiate fantasy from reality... kids learn how to, when they are about 2 years old, you would think adults would know better..
14:09 May 17, 2012 by bcterry
ANY depiction of an adult having sex with a child, even if it's stick men, is sick and perverted, .... period!

" By the same logic, does that mean that people who watch crime dramas are "interested" in actually robbing banks? If you watch war films, does that make you a genocidal maniac? Of course not."

If you cannot make a distinction between crime dramas and sex with children, in any form, well .....................................
15:53 May 17, 2012 by LL2423
"ANY depiction of an adult having sex with a child, even if it's stick men, is sick and perverted, .... period!"

This is merely your own personal subjective opinion. I find a lot of things disgusting myself, however I don't have anything against the people who enjoy those types of content.

Your argument is entirely fueled by moral panic. Please try to view this situation from an objective and unbiased standpoint, rather than sticking to your idea of what's "right" and what's "wrong".
19:04 May 17, 2012 by bcterry
"Your argument is entirely fueled by moral panic."

Moral panic?, .........LOL, please.

I could respond in kind about your moral position, but it speaks for itself.

"Please try to view this situation from an objective and unbiased standpoint, rather than sticking to your idea of what's "right" and what's "wrong".

My stand point on the sexual abuse of children is not open to "unbiased objectivity" , and i dare say it is in total lockstep with well over 90% of the population.

"I don't have anything against the people who enjoy those types of content."

That is MORE than apparent.

See ya.
19:31 May 17, 2012 by LL2423
So let me summarize this: you believe that it is entirely fair to arrest people over crimes that have no victims, and to put this action on the same priority as arresting people who are actually committing real crimes towards children. Additionally, you believe that 90% of the Swedish population shares this opinion with you.

Just tell me if I'm right or wrong here.
21:45 May 17, 2012 by bcterry
"So let me summarize this: you believe that it is entirely fair to arrest people over crimes that have no victims, and to put this action on the same priority as arresting people who are actually committing real crimes towards children. Additionally, you believe that 90% of the Swedish population shares this opinion with you."

I was done here, but i will respond ONCE MORE to that question.

Do you not read what i have posted?

#13,

"As i stated in my first post, any interest in child porn should be looked at seriously by the police, and if, IF, it leads to criminal activity such as other images of real children, then they should be arrested, and prosecuted.

Limited resources should not be a factor when it comes the abuse of children, and i'm sure that what it takes to look into these situations is not a tremendous drain on those resources. "

And yes, i absolutely believe that 90% of Swedes would agree with that statement.

I also agree that 90% of Swedes would agree that ANY sort of depiction of adults having sexual relations with children is sick and perverted, whether or not anyone in possession of such material is arrested and charged.

I could care less, and have absolutely no problem with

what forms of sex that consenting adults engage in, but innocent children are OFF LIMITS!!!, and don't dare cross that line and expect to get away with it.

I'm from Canada, and damn proud of our laws on child pornography, and believe that all civilized countries will eventually get on board.

"Canadian law forbids the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. Prohibitions cover visual representations of sexual activity by persons (real or imaginary) under the age of 18, depiction of their sexual organ/anal region for a sexual purpose, or any written material or visual representation that advocates child pornography offenses against a person under 18. There is an exception for material with artistic merit or an educational, scientific, or medical purpose. The law against simple possession of child pornography was declared void in British Columbia by a 1998 provincial court ruling but this decision was overturned two years later by the Canadian Supreme Court.[11] The high court further concluded that a "person" under the law could be either real or fictional and that the prohibition of written texts was potentially acceptable.[12][13] Cases have now been prosecuted in Canada involving anime and manga child pornography."
23:45 May 17, 2012 by LL2423
You might want to re-think that all Swedes agree with your statement. A quick run-through of all the comment sections of all the news sites that have published articles relevant to this case will prove this, as most people find the law itself to be absurd. And it's not just normal people who find this law unreasonable, law experts and even police officers have criticised this case, claiming that it's insulting to put fictional children and real children on the same level of priority.

Additionally, a quick Google search will show you just how perfect your biased Canadian "child porn" law is. Plenty of people have had comics and computers seized over images that were later deemed "not indecent". People have even had non-erotic manga seized just because "hey, it's from Japan, it absolutely _has_ to be indecent!". Even though they weren't charged, they were all still branded as pedophiles, and that's not a label that you want to live with.

Look up the Brandon X case, for example. He had two questionable items seized, was branded a pedophile, and thrown into custody. He was later freed (because the Canadian police finally realized that "hey, prosecuting someone over this is really goddamn stupid"), but he still has to live on with being labeled as a sex offender. I don't know how anyone can consider such a law to be even remotely fair.

Regardless, I'm done here, since it's quite obvious that I can't change your mind when it comes to this stuff. You don't even need to respond if you don't want to.
13:36 May 19, 2012 by tetrahedron
Has anyone actually seen these cartoons? It sounds to me like a bit of a fuss about nothing. What worries me more are the actual depictions of children being abused which can be accessed by the click of a few buttons on the computer. Sometimes these sites can be accessed by accident and it would not take the police long to find a number of such sites if they cared to look for them. So why aren't they closing all theses sites down? I think that there should be a serious international effort to stop this and it should be given a priority before any other form of organised crime except terrorism. If they spent as much time and money on this as they do on the so-called "war on drugs", it would probably do more good and, if all drugs were put under some sort of legal control, there would be more room in the prisons to give paedophiles longer sentences. There should be a war on paedophilia. It looks to me like they're only fighting a half-hearted battle at the moment.
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