PRESS RELEASE BY CAUSE FOR JUSTICE: 7 MARCH 2018
* FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *
SUBJECT: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PASSES LEGISLATION TO LEGALISE HARD-CORE ONLINE PORNOGRAPHY
On 6 March 2018, the ANC, through their majority in the National Assembly, adopted legislation (the Films and Publications Amendment Bill) which contains proposals that legalise –
- the distribution of the most vile forms of pornography and degrading material in South Africa and
- the online distribution of hardcore pornography to adults in South Africa.
During the debate on the Bill, opposition parties such as the ACDP and UDM, emphasised the unintended harmful consequences of legalising hardcore adult pornography for children and women, who often end up as victims of sexual abuse or gender-based sexual violence at the hands of men.
Cause for Justice (CFJ) has been involved in the public participation process in Parliament since April 2016.
The UDM questioned called for further investigation into the social effects of pornography, stating that not enough is being done to protect children and women, since scientific research shows that exposure to adult pornography (including mainstream hard-core pornography) leads some men to commit sexual violence (including rape) against children and women.
The ACDP pointed out that we should not prioritise the sexual entertainment of men over the safety of women and children. Both parties called for a thorough investigation into the public health costs and social consequences of adults’ use of and exposure to pornography for the whole of South African society, before legalising online distribution of pornography.
Based on the available research, Cause for Justice submits that pornography is not mere harmless private entertainment, but violates human dignity and has multiple harmful public health and safety consequences, including making victims of children and triggering gender-based violence against women. Cause for Justice repeats the UDM’s question whether, in a country with some of the highest levels of sexually violent crime in the world, is it a good idea to sanction the mass distribution of mainstream hard-core pornography to all adults.
The legislation will next go before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), to be debated and to receive inputs from the public. This is a second and last opportunity for the public to interact with Parliament before the legislation will become binding law in South Africa. Cause for Justice encourages each South African and each NGO to strengthen their resolve and take part in the democratic process in support of the protection and promotion of the constitutional value of human dignity and to protect children and women from sexual exploitation.
[PRESS RELEASE ENDS]
For further queries, contact CFJ at:
Tel: 083 235 1511