Fight over SA website age restrictions

An NGO will appeal a Film and Publication Board (FPB) ruling that a website has the right to publish graphic images of botched traditional circumcisions.

The board would hear the appeal on Tuesday, Dutch doctor Dingeman Rijken, who runs the www.ulwaluko.co.za website, said in an e-mail on Sunday.

The Community Development Foundation for SA (Codefsa) filed an appeal application last week after the FPB ruled that Rijken’s website was a “bona fide scientific publication with great educative value”.

The FPB gave the website a rating of 13N, meaning it showed nudity and was only suitable for people older than 13. The website has photographs of the penises of initiates who fell victim to botched circumcisions.

According to Codefsa the website’s images are pornographic, compromise doctor-patient confidentiality and prejudice and violate the cultural rights of black people.

The FPB forwarded copies of Codefsa’s memorandum of appeal and its own submission to the appeal tribunal, the FPB said in a statement, dated February 11.

Rijken said the establishment of the appeal tribunal was nonsense. He said he had received consent for each photograph posted on the website, and that the deaths and mutilations underminded customs and violated cultural rights. He said it was preposterous to equate pictures of mutilated penises with pornography.

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Fight over SA website age restrictions