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Web Expert Warns South Africa Against Banning Porn

SA minister wants to explore prohibiting access to pornography on the internet, mobile devices, television and other mass media

Web Expert Warns South Africa Against Banning Porn

CAPE TOWN, SA—Following recent remarks by South Africa’s Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba expressing interest in a law to ban porn from being transmitted on the internet, cell phones and television, Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx has warned the government against the idea, saying it is futile, will only cost the country a lot of money to enforce and could make the country a global pariah in terms of corporate investment.

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“"It's not possible to ban internet porn unless government becomes a nanny state over what everyone does over the Internet,” said Goldstuck. “It would require enormous resources from internet providers and extensive resources from government."

Following on the heels of Australia’s planned censorship of “inappropriate content” at the ISP level, Gigaba said Wednesday that he also wants South Africa to not only join the global fight against the spread of child pornography, but also to work to “protect children in general from porn in the mass media.”

"We are still awaiting the report of the Law Reform Commission on our request for advice on the possibility to prohibit pornography in the mass media, public broadcasters as well as internet and mobile phones," he said in a speech in Parliament, adding, “We are determined that we should have legislation ... to protect our children. Those who want to view pornography must do so in the privacy of well-regulated adult shops.”

In response to that draconian suggestion, Goldstuck pointed to China, which has expended untold resources, including payments to citizens for reporting porn infractions, in the process alienating global corporations such as Google, which has threatened to discontinue its presence in the country.

“"We would need a great firewall of China, which completely undermines free speech," said Goldstuck, adding that South Africa has adequate laws to protect against the creation and proliferation of child pornography.

The global trend, he added, was away from greater government interference in the free flow of information over communications networks.

"The message for government should be 'stay out of the way,'" he said.

It remains to be seen whether there will be a new contestant in the World Censorship Olympics.






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