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Pornography ruining innocence of SA's children

by Michael Appel
on 01 Jun 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

More and more paedophiles are using the internet and chat forums such as Mxit to interact and lure children to them wrecking the innocence of children worldwide.

"We hope that through persuasion and cooperation, we can deny the criminals the enormous weapons they have in their possession to wreck havoc by damaging the innocence of children.

"Child pornography and the exposure of children to pornography must be made an abomination in our society," said Home Affairs Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba, Sunday.

Speaking at a national Indaba on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Child Exploitation through Combating Child Pornography, the deputy minister said as International Children's Day is celebrated on 1 June, we need to renew our pledge to protect our children.

"... we are duty-bound to ask ourselves probing and often uncomfortable questions about whether we are doing enough to fulfil our Constitutional obligation to protect our children from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.

"As we meet, we are aware of this sad fact that the abuse and exploitation of women and children in our society are on the rise.

"We are further aware that the culprits are not only hard-nosed criminals, but they include those that permit women and children to be sexualised through the media and technology, those who produce and consume this material and that by their silence allow it to happen," he said.

South Africa as a liberal democracy and open society must, however, have ethical values and moral ethos that guide the country in deciding what shall be permitted and what shall not.

The Films and Publications Board (FPB) are busy finalising the FPB Amendment Bill of 2007 and together with the Sexual Offences and Children's Act, will hopefully advance the ethical values of the country, he said.

A number of challenges exist in South Africa today and include a need to intensify efforts to ensure that no child ever becomes a victim of the production of child pornography.

"Secondly, to intensify the effort to ensure that child pornography is combated in our society all together.

"Third, to ensure that none of our children have access to pornography whatsoever ... and to combat the dangerous abuse of technology and the media to expose children to inappropriate content," said the deputy minister.

The country, he said, needs to debate the question of whether there must be a total banishment of mobile-phone pornography in general as well as a stricter control of mobile phones in schools.

"The media must be brought on board and made to be interested in the public awareness and education programme; as well as to understand the serious social and moral dangers faced by society as a result of pornography accessibility in our society.

"Meanwhile we have made great progress towards implementing the Declaration of the 2005 Port Elizabeth Conference.

"We have implemented the National Awareness and Public Education Campaign, strengthened the capacity of the FPB, tightened the legislation, pursued strategic partnerships and established the Ministerial Task Team on Child Pornography.

"Combating cyber crime requires a unified front with all parties contributing: Government, vendors, private sector and individuals," he concluded. - BuaNews

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