Appalled by ICASA's Porn Channel Decision (24 April 2013)

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Women’s Constitutional Rights
Pornography discriminates against the rights of women to dignity, equality and protection from hate speech. Pornography often depicts women in degrading, humiliating ways and as sex objects - existing only for men’s sexual pleasure. Women are also often called derogatory names and subject to violent acts.

Not in Public Interest

“In no way would these porn channels be ‘in the public interest,’” says Hodgson. “Porn channels with pin codes and so-called locking devices would present very little challenge to an increasingly ‘tech savvy’ computer generation.”

“We have reports from Safeline and the Teddybear Clinic who counselled children who watched porn films screened on E-TV. Some of these children even sexually abused other children as a result.”

“We shudder to think of the women and kids who will be abused because their husband/Dad got addicted to watching porn on TOP TV.”

“Pornography is as addictive and destructive as hard-core drugs. Hard-core drugs are illegal, porn should be too.”

Film and Publication Amendment Act

The Film and Publication Amendment Act, 2009 prohibits the distribution/broadcasting of hard-core pornography (films classified X18) on public platforms; and makes it very clear that such films should only be distributed via licensed Adult Shops.

BCCSA Code on X18 Material

The BCCSA Code has also been ignored.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission Code published in 2011 allows the broadcast of sexually explicit material, except for “explicit sexual conduct”(X18) and XX material (child abuse images, incest, rape, bestiality, “explicit sexual conduct which violates or shows disrespect for the right to dignity of any person”, “explicit infliction of sexual or domestic violence” and “explicit sexual conduct which constitutes incitement of, or promotes harmful behaviour”).

Whilst the BCCSA is a self-regulating body, the Code should have at least informed ICASA’s decision.

International Protocol Obligations

International Protocol obligations have also been ignored by ICASA.

International Protocols such as The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 1979 ratified by SA in 1995, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), ratified in 2005 and the UN Beijing Declaration of 1995 uphold the dignity of women.

 

Stereotypes
Article 5 of CEDAW says "State Parties shall take all appropriate measures... To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices... and all other practices which are based on...stereotyped roles for men and women."

Effective Measures
The African Charter not only gives recognition to a woman's right to dignity but also obliges state parties to adopt and implement measures to ensure the protection of every woman's right to respect for dignity. Article 12(b) says "State parties must eliminate all stereotypes in...the media that perpetuate such discrimination." Article 13(m) says "States Parties shall take effective legislative and administrative measures to prevent the exploitation and abuse of women in advertising and pornography."

The Beijing Declaration says in Article 24, "state parties should take all necessary measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women."

Appalling

“We therefore believe that in the light of the harmful effects of pornography, the above international obligations, legislation cited and Broadcasting Code obligations, the license granted to TOP TV is discriminatory, and beyond appalling,” says Hodgson.

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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