However, the Association has cautioned Government not to confuse the two separate issues of online child pornography and the exposure of children to pornographic images through the Internet.
Although ISPA is taking an active role in the fight against child pornography, it does not believe that it is feasible for its members to become watchdogs tasked with protecting children from all online pornography, as has been recently suggested.
“Creating, possessing or distributing child pornography or Child Sexual Abuse Images (CSAIs) is illegal under the provisions of the Film and Publications Act 65 of 1996 as amended, with harsh penalties for people convicted of these crimes,” said Dominic Cull, regulatory advisor to ISPA.
“The law is abundantly clear in this regard and ISPA’s members are required to take immediate action where they become aware of CSAIs and to work closely with law enforcement to facilitate the investigation of this crime”.
ISPA has worked closely with the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Film & Publications Board (FPB) and other authorities in a co-ordinated effort to prevent South Africans from intentionally or inadvertently accessing CSAIs on the Internet.
ISPA is cooperating with the FPB to develop a Guideline that will govern how CSAIs are dealt with and define how the entities involved in combating CSAIs will work with each other to fight this scourge in the most efficient and effective manner.
ISPA’s Code of Conduct explicitly requires members to report any illegal content or conduct they are aware of to the relevant law enforcement agency. ISPA members are also advised to report such content or conduct to the FPB Prochild Hotline (www.fpbprochild.co.za).
Exposure of minors to pornography
“ISPA accepts that the relative ease with which minors in South Africa are able to access pornographic content online and offline is of concern to society. But it is important to remember that the challenge of dealing with this is a responsibility shared by a number of involved parties”, said Cull.
ISPA is an Industry Representative Body (IRB) recognised by the Minister of Communications.