Porn bill problems highlighted: call for parliamentary inquiry

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Groups concerned about proposals to legalise more pornography have made urgent requests for more time for public comment on the Film and Publications Amendments Bill, and for a parliamentary inquiry into the  effects of pornography, before the bill enters the next stage of parliamentary deliberations.

The Department of Communications has not yet responded to the groups’ requests for the deadline for written submissions on the bill to be extended before it is considered by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), although consideration is being given to a short extension, says Cause for Justice (CFJ) in a statement.

The bill contains certain problematic proposals and was opposed by almost all opposition parties during the public participation process in March. However, due to certain departures from the usual procedure, several amendments were introduced after the completion of the public participation process, giving rise to the need for more public comment says CFJ.

Cause for Justice says it has delivered a list of petitioners who share its concerns on the bill to members of the NCOP, calling on them to reject certain problematic amendments which, among others, propose “legalising more vile and dehumanising types of pornography, and the online distribution of hardcore pornography to adult Internet users”.

“It is well-known that pornography violates the human dignity of its characters by portraying them not as human beings with value in and of themselves, but as objects used (or exploited) for other purposes, such as the sexual stimulation and gratification of a third-party on-looker.

“In addition, a growing body of scientific research is exposing the harmful effects of pornography and recognising it as a public health crisis.

“Therefore, Cause for Justice calls on parliament to conduct an official and thorough investigation and enquiry into the harmful effects of adult pornography on viewers (both adults and children), actors, intimate partner relationships, family stability, and vulnerable groups like women and children (who are most at risk of becoming victims of sexual abuse/violence). This should be done before proceeding with the Bill any further. Should MPs neglect to do so, they will fail the women and children of South Africa.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for this article. It would be helpful if you could explain WHY most opposition parties opposed the amendments. The Democratic alliance from what I recall opposed it because they don’t want ANY restrictions. Could you please find out for us?