Bill hailed for tackling child sex, lashed for censorship

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

The battle to end child pornography and explicit sexual material that can be viewed by children will be under the spotlight in Parliament today.

The Film and Publication Board (FPB) will give its input to MP's.

Shokie Bopape-Dlomo, the board's chief executive, will make a presentation to the home affairs portfolio committee on the FPB's progress to clamp down on material that could be harmful to children.

She will present the board's work from its 2005-06 report, which was held up because of difficulties in complying with directives from the Auditor-General, said Bopape-Dlomo.

According to the report, 75 members of the public complained about 36 films and other issues. A large number of complaints related to blasphemy. The FPB's guidelines will be published for public comment.

Bopape-Dlomo said it was also expected that a timetable for the introduction of the long-awaited anti-porn and censorship law would be made clear at the meeting.

Amendments to the Film and Publications Act of 1996 were being reworked by the Home Affairs Department, said ministerial spokesman Cleo Mosana yesterday.

The bill was sent back to the department after public hearings held by the portfolio committee. It is likely to be returned to the committee before the middle of the year, Mosana said.

The bill has been lauded for proposing the banning of child pornography and bringing in tougher regulations for the distribution of explicit sexual material on the Internet, cellphones and video games.

But there has also been opposition from media freedom groups to the bill under the categories of "sexual conduct, propaganda for war, incitement to imminent violence and the advocacy of hatred based on an identifiable group characteristic".