4 June 2008
The Department of Home Affairs is to launch an anti-child pornography website in July, and is urging South Africans to report incidents and provide tip-offs anonymously.
The Internet Hotline tip-off website will be operational from 1 July onwards. Child pornography can also be reported to the Films and Publication Board toll-free on 0800 148 148.
“People reporting such incidents will remain anonymous, and information received will be sent to the police for further investigations and this will lead to the closure of the site and the arrest of the perpetrators,” Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said in Midrand this week.
In a bid to curb child pornography, the government is also ensuring that there are legislative and other measures in place to give practical effect to the constitutional principle that, in all matters concerning the child, the best interests of the child are paramount.
The Films and Publications Board would also play a vital role in ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book.
The government has extended the scope of the Films and Publications Act to make the creation, production, distribution, possession, advocacy, advertising or promotion of child pornography a criminal offence, and has increased the maximum prison sentence for any person convicted of any child pornography offence to 10 years.
Child pornography is defined as any image or description of a person who is under the age of 18 years, or who is made to appear as a person under that age, engaged in any form of sexual conduct.
According to the department, children are often sexually brutalised, tortured and even murdered in the creation of child pornography.
The government has also initiated a national campaign to increase awareness among the public of this terrible crime against children, and is encouraging partnerships between government child protection agencies and civil society to maintain constant vigilance to ensure a healthy social and educational environment for all children.
Legislation has also been introduced to make the failure to report knowledge or suspicion of the commission of any child pornography offence a criminal offence.
“We urge people to report cases of child pornography,” Gigaba said.