Tough new law to curb revenge porn

Jilted lovers who post videos and photographs of their sexual escapades with former partners on the internet and social media will need their exes' permission to do so or face jail time and hefty fines.

According to a new law governing the Film and Publication Board (FPB), distributing "private sexual photographs and films" is prohibited if the person posting does not have the consent of the individual appearing in the photograph or film and with the intention of causing distress.

The Films and Publications Amendment Bill, which has been introduced to parliament by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, will only allow former lovers to post private sexual photographs and films if they reasonably believe that their disclosure is necessary for preventing, detecting or investigating crime.

In terms of the proposed new law, a photograph or film is ''sexual'' if it shows all or part of an individual's exposed genitals or pubic area, reveals body parts that a reasonable person would consider sexual and if based on whether the content, taken as a whole, is such that a reasonable person would consider it sexual.

Private photographs or films are described as those showing something that is not of a kind ordinarily seen in public.

The penalty for distributing private sexual photographs and films on the internet and social media without prior consent of the individual featured and with the intention to cause harm will be a fine not exceeding R150000 or imprisonment of not more than two years or both.

The FPB's Janine Raftopoulos said because the bill was now in parliament, the board cannot comment further.

The government also hopes internet service providers will assist in curbing the use of their services in advocating racism and hate speech.

Should an internet service provider with knowledge that its services are being used for advocating racism and hate speech fail to assist the FPB with identifying the culprits, it will face a fine not exceeding R750000 or imprisonment of not more than five years or both.

Individuals using the internet and social media to knowingly distribute films, games or publications advocating propaganda for war, hate speech and inciting violence face fines of up to R150000 or imprisonment of not more than two years or both.

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