Christian Action Network Supports Anti-Internet Pornography Bill
The Christian Action Network supports the drafting and proposal of an Anti-Internet Pornography Bill by the Justice Alliance of South Africa to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs as a possible solution to (partly) combating the scourge of pornography in South Africa.
This proposed Bill comes as a result of calls from Deputy Minister of Home Affairs to ban pornography from the public sphere and to ensure the protection of children. Deputy Minister Gigaba has also requested the South African Law Reform Commission to look into this possibility of banning pornography on the internet, cell phones and on television.
Research done by the Film and Publications Board in 2006 found that 64% of teenagers surveyed had been exposed to pornographic images on the internet and 81% admitted they had seen such images on their friends cell phones.
Not only does pornography infringe on the constitutional rights of children, it also 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.
Pornography is often used by paedophiles to 'groom' children into compliance for their abusive acts. Research conducted by the Teddy Bear Clinic in Johannesburg has also shown that children with predisposed vulnerabilities have sexually abused other children as a result of viewing pornography. Pornography has also been shown to cause devastating psychological damage to children.
In the Legal Opinion drafted by JASA, John Smyth summarised the legal argument for the Bill, "Internet pornography is such a readily accessible evil for children, that the Constitutional Court, if the Bill were challenged, would be bound to hold that the section 28 obligation to protect at all costs the best interests of children would trump the rights to freedom of expression and privacy."
Yesterday, John Smyth, director of the Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA), presented the draft bill and the legal opinion on the constitutional issues related to the bill to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Malusi Gigaba.
It was agreed that JASA will have another meeting with the Film and Publication Board (FPB) to explore the matter of the draft Bill further. The draft Bill will provide input to the process already underway at the LRC towards the total ban of pornography on the internet.
JASA's Internet Pornography Bill and Legal Opinion can be read on the www.justicealliance.co.za website.
The Internet and Cell Phone Pornography Bill proposes that pornography be filtered out at the tier one service providers to avoid it entering the country. The Bill is aimed at the total ban of pornography on internet and mobile phones. United Arab Emirates and Yemen already have legislation in this regard. Australia and New Zealand are currently seeking to do so.
It was noted that unlike in the physical world where a reasonable effort can be made for pornography to be kept away from children, in the online world, pornographic sites are often parked deliberately next door to educational sites, often with names almost identical. Thus many children are often accessing pornography accidently.
Internet technology experts that CAN has consulted say that the blocking of pornography from the internet on a national level would be a drop in the ocean compared to revenue generated by the SA internet industry. Fears that filtering costs for Internet Service Providers would be relayed to the consumer are unfounded as consumer internet costs are due to drop significantly by 2011/2012 with more international bandwith available to ISPs via new submarine cables.
The Christian Action Network believes that, in the light of the fact that pornography violates God's Law, and the above legal arguments and practical considerations, that all pornography should be totally banned.
"Jesus said to his disciples: 'Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.'" Luke 17:1-3
Christian Action Network
PO Box 23632
Tel: 021-689 4481