Home Affairs Indaba Declaration on Combating Child Pornography to be Applauded - 10 June 2008

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Home Affairs Indaba Declaration on Combating Child Pornography to be Applauded

 The Declaration released by the Department of Home Affairs after the 1 June Combating Child Pornography Indaba, which includes the statement that “We should explore the possibility of completely banning pornography in South Africa” is long overdue and is to be applauded.

Recent surveys released by the Department found that “67% of children surveyed have watched pornographic films” and “64% have been exposed to pornographic images on the Internet”. The destructiveness and the mainstreaming of porn is exactly what groups such as the Christian Action Network (CAN) and Standing Together to Oppose Pornography (S.T.O.P) warned about in their submissions to the Home Affairs Task Group in 1995. Of the approximately 1600 people who sent in written submissions, 99.7% were in favour of retaining or strengthening the laws restricting immoral materials in South Africa.

At the Indaba, Clive Human, spokesperson of STOP, showed MPs and other high ranking government officials sections in particular FHM and Cosmo magazines that were declared by the Film and Publications Board (FPB) to be of “bona fide scientific merit” and were therefore declared by the FPB as not needing to be classified as X18 (only distributable from a licensed sex shop). He also showed them child porn published in a Cape Town tabloid newspaper. Apparently, the government officials were shocked by the materials.

It is hoped that the Film and Publications Amendment Bill 2007 will give more impetus to the Film and Publications Board to draw up a separate set of guidelines for magazines to be pre-classified. The Christian Action Network is concerned however, that the broader definition of pornography in the Sexual Offences Act 2007 has not been taken into account to push for stricter classifications.

“It is shocking to know what materials get passed under both the X18 (distributable from a sex shop) and XX (can posses but not distribute) category,” says Taryn Hodgson, International Co-ordinator of the Christian Action Network. “The XX category includes material of women being raped, in visible pain and called horrific names.”

Nothing to do with freedom of expression

Other statements included in the Declaration that are to be applauded are:

“Exposing children to pornography and sex has nothing to with freedom of expression and that we cannot hide behind such noble concepts as freedom of expression to perpetuate criminal acts that encourage the abuse of children and women and degrade the moral fibre of our society.”

In a booklet, “Talk About Children at Risk”, written by the South African Police Services Child Protection Unit it states,

“In 1996 the Films and Publication Act was passed, legalising pornography for the first time in the history of the country. This made it possible for child abusers, rapists and paedophiles to obtain all the material they needed. Statistics tell the story as South African Police Service records show that child rape increased… over 400%”! The police report further stated that: “Research with child sexual offenders reveals that all have used child pornography.”

Pornography fuels rape and child abuse

SA Police records show that reported child rapes increased from 3600 in 1992 to almost 15 000 in 1996. According to Doreen Meissner, founder of Standing Together to Oppose Pornography (S.T.O.P), “This is an increase of just over 400% in just four years. Is it mere coincidence that this escalation coincided with the flood of pornography that hit our country during these years?”

 Call for more radical voices

Interestingly, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Gigaba, in connection with the recent survey reports released, called for more “radical voices” to speak out about pornography on television and on cell phones.

 Last year and this year, members of the Christian Action Network protested outside the e-TV offices in Cape Town. “We encourage people to continue to phone, email and fax the e-TV offices to call for the pornographic films screened on e-TV to be removed. People also need to continue to complain to store managers about offensive magazines and DVDs,” Hodgson said.

CONTACT: International Co-ordinator of the Christian Action Network, Taryn Hodgson on 072 215 4801 or 021-689 4480, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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