Internet porn ban in SA must be fast tracked: Deputy Minister

Deputy Home Affairs Minister intends to fast-track the passage of a law that will force ISPs to filter out porn in South Africa

July 29, 2010
Internet porn ban in SA must be fast tracked:  Deputy Minister

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba intends to fast-track the passage of a yet-to-be drafted law that will compel internet service providers (ISP) to filter content provided to users to ensure it does not contain any pornography.

The Film and Publication Board (FPB) held a symposium this week to look at ways of protecting children from porn.

“Despite recent amendments of the law and other efforts to stop the devastating effect on children of their access to pornography, it’s not enough,” FPB legal affairs manager Dumisani Rorwana said in a statement on Thursday.

“The law as it stands is not working, so we’ve no choice but to take it to the next level.”

Technology had advanced to a point where ISPs would be able to filter out around 95 percent of the content in a “highly cost-effective way”, he said.

Similar programmes to safeguard children from pornography were currently in place in China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

“We expect resistance from those who claim the freedom to access pornography as a fundamental right,” Rorwana said.

“However, it is well established in legal circles that the rights of children are paramount. By comparison, viewing pornography remains a peripheral right.”

Gigaba would now meet with his counterparts at Cabinet level to determine where the bill would best fit.

The symposium also agreed on the need to block certain gaps in the broadcasters’ code that had seen instances of “unsuitable content being aired during the past few months going unpunished”, Rorwana said.

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