Child Sex Abuse Images to Be Banned in UK
Justice Minister Maria Eagle has outlined plans to make possession of such images punishable by up to three years in prison.
The plans are part of the government's response to a public consultation exercise conducted last year.
Under the Obscene Publications Act, it is illegal to sell or distribute photos of child abuse but it is legal to own drawings and computer-generated images.
The Government said that as a result paedophiles were using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons.
Eagle said that the proposal would 'help close a loophole that we believe paedophiles are using'.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said that the authorities had 'noticed an increase in the existing availability of these images on the internet'.
"If we do not address the issues these images raise now it is likely their availability will continue to grow," BBC quoted her, as saying.
"They are often advertised as a legitimate depiction of child sexual abuse," she added.
Eagle said that the plans were 'not about criminalising art or pornographic cartoons more generally, but about targeting obscene, and often very realistic, images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society'.