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South Africa Proposing a Ban on Pornography over the Internet, on Mobile Phones

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South Africa's Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Malusi Gigaba has proposed a bill that would impose a total ban on pornography on the internet and mobile phones. 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 in effect a Great Firewall of South Africa.

The current legislation, particularly the Film and Publication Act, provide of the ban of child pornography whereas the proposed Internet and Cell Phone Bill provides for the total ban of pornography on these electronic channels using the wider definition of pornography already available in the Sexual Offence Act.

Graham Cluley of security firm Sophos said previous attempts by other nations to ban pornography had not been successful. "One wonders how on earth a democracy like South Africa would be able to introduce such a system, as it's not as though the state has 100% control over telecommunications," he told BBC News.

"Although their intentions may be honourable, it's barking mad to think you will be able to completely outlaw pornography from the web which, is after all, the modern equivalent of the wild west."

The Deputy Minister has also briefed the Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA) about the request he had made to the Law Reform Commission (LRC) to provide advice on the possibility of legislating against pornography on the internet, television and mobile phones. The Deputy Minister awaits the response of the LRC, who are currently doing research on the matter.

Mr Gigaba said, "Cars are already provided with brakes and seatbelts, it is not an extra that consumers have to pay for. There is no reason why the internet should be provided without the necessary restrictive mechanisms built into it."

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.

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Tags: africa  cell phone  South Africa