South African Porn Laws
It is said the forbidden fruit phenomenon of censoring material has the effect of increasing an individuals desire for that material.
And the prohibition of alcohol in America did not in any way cease the consumption of liquor; it simply created room for criminal networks to take control of alcohol production and the distribution of it.
In South Africa Virtual Child Pornography is most accurately described as profoundly offensive. Let’s take a closer look at the Films and Publication Act for South Africa.
Pornography rated X18 is permitted in South Africa, if sold to persons over the age of 18 in REGISTERED STORES (porn may only be distributed from designated, licensed physical premises) It is also unlawfully in South Africa to visually represent bestiality, but not unlawful in text descriptions like articles and news reports. Violent porn is an offence in any form.
Real And Virtual Child Pornography Laws Of South Africa
South Africa prohibits two types of child pornography. The first type is Real Child Porn, involving actual children.
This type of porn evokes a strong and near universal sense of moral outrage. It is not only that the material is offence, but it is also the permanent record of a particularly vile form of child abuse. Children of pornography are harmed by its creation, the distribution of the material is further harm against their dignity and privacy.
Real Child Pornography serves as a record of a particularly severe rights violation
The second is Virtual Child Porn. This type of porn does not involve real children and is made up of a number of different types of erotic material. It includes paintings, sculptures, cartoons, sketches and written descriptions of children involved in sexual conduct. It also includes depictions of adults, which are represented as being under the age of 18, engaging in sexual conduct. Digitally created images that resemble actual child pornography, but which do not make use of real children are also prohibited.
Virtual Child Pornography does not involve or harm children in the production process. The statute proscribes the visual depiction of an idea – that of teenagers engaging in sexual activities – that is a fact of modern society and has been a theme in art and literature throughout the ages.
The most famous love story ever written, Romeo and Juliet, involves a relationship between two teenagers, one of whom is only 13 years of age.
All of these valuable and beautiful works of art are defined by the South African Films and Publication Act as Virtual Porn. Its not only existing works that would suffer the force of censorship by the South African government but would have a chilling effect that would prevent new works of art from being created.
A 14 year old high school student in South Africa could be imprisoned for a period of up to 30 years if she drew a cartoon or painted a picture of herself involved in sexual conduct, thereafter distributed copies to her friends and retained a copy for herself (production, distribution and possession each carry a 10 year sentence)
While certain forms of Virtual Child Porn are offensive, the South African government is not justified in instituting criminal sanctions against those that produce, distribute and possess it.
The penalty for both types of porn is currently a prison sentence of up to ten years for production, distribution and possession of the material, which totals 30 years if found guilty of all three.
Virtual Child Porn is drastically different from Real Child Porn and ought not to be regulated in the same manner.
Studies conducted on sex offenders show that sex offenders have been exposed to less porn than the average man on the street. Furthermore, a large number of sex offenders were raised with strict, antisexual, repressive attitudes. This seems to suggest that it is healthier for a person to be exposed to porn in an environment that supports sexual expression as opposed to one that condemns sexual expression.
Numerous studies have failed to produce reliable results that prove that being exposed to porn caused sexual aggression. The experiments were only able to show that being exposed to porno caused subjects to revise their beliefs about how common certain sexual practices were performed.
Not all forms of Virtual Child Pornography are offensive, like paintings by Renaissance painters. They are only considered offensive by extremely prudish members of our society. But if the section were completely struck down as being unconstitutional, we would be in the unfortunate position leaving Real Child Pornography unregulated.
It is for this very reason that there is an imperative to amend the current law so that it no longer prohibits Virtual Child Pornography but that it continues to prohibit Real Child Pornography. It is unwise, unconstitutional and unsustainable to continue to prohibit Virtual Child Pornography.
In a Supreme Court decision in America, the court struck down legislation that is similar to South Africa’s on the basis that it was unconstitutional.
It should be regulated so as to avoid people making forced contact, like billboards, restricting promotion of the materials to adverts placed in sex shops or porn websites. This would reduce the severity of the offence. Books containing material could be adequately marked and sealed to prevent people from stumbling across them unwittingly and being offended.
Virtual Child Pornography embodies attitudes that have political content, which play a role in the marketing of ideas and thus worthy of a degree of protection. The material is undoubtedly unpopular by extremely prudish members of our society but at least some of it is motivated by an interest in reforming social values.