The child's right against exploitation in the form of pornography on the Internet : a South African perspective

Van der Westhuizen, Lize (2001)

Thesis (LL.M.) -- University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: With the arrival of the Internet, the availability of pornography, and especially child pornography, has increased tremendously. This rapidly developing technological wonderworld has brought the dark syndicate of sexual exploitation of children to the living room of each home equipped with a computer. In South Africa the right of the child to not be sexually exploited or abused is enshrined in section 28 of the Constitution, 108 of 1996, as well as in several international documents. This thesis analyses the legislative framework in this regard and comes to the conclusion that South African legislation concerned shows much room for improvement. Legislation concerning sexual offences against children makes use of archaic terms that are outdated in the present context. It is also vague, inconsistent and provides insufficient protection to children in this regard. The sexual exploitation of children does not, despite promises made by the South African government in ratifying several international documents, receive high priority in the South African community. This finding is made in view of the examination of certain key concepts to the subject, international documents such as the United Nations Convention to the Rights of the Child, 1989, and the activities of international organisations combating the sexual exploitation of the child. An analysis of the manner in which countries such as the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan has implemented protection measures against this form of abuse, is also made. Proposals to increase the protection of children in South Africa are submitted in conclusion. Although this new domain needs urgent measures of regulation, it is not an impossible task to govern the Internet. Formulating comprehensive, consistent and effective legislation is a fundamental part in the battle against the sexual exploitation of children. The co-operation of all relevant sectors, including the government, the Internet industry and members of the community, however, remains essential.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die beskikbaarheid van pornografie, en veral kinderpornografie, het met die koms van die Internet onrusbarend toegeneem. Hierdie vinnig ontwikkelende tegnologiese wonderwereld het die seksuele eksploitasie van kinders vanuit die donker onderwereld na die voorkamer van elke huis met 'n rekenaar gebring. In Suid-Afrika word die reg van die kind om teen seksuele uitbuiting en mishandeling beskerm te word in artikel 28 van die Grondwet, 108 van 1996, asook verskeie internasionale dokumente verskans. Hierdie tesis ondersoek die wetgewende raamwerk rakende die groeiende probleem van seksuele eksploitasie op die Internet en vind dat Suid-Afrikaanse wetgewing in hierdie verband nog ver te kort skiet. Wetgewing met betrekking tot seksuele misdade teen kinders maak tans gebruik van arqaise terme wat glad nie meer in vandag se konteks relevant is nie. Dit is voorts ook onsamehangend, onduidelik en verskaf onvoeldoende beskerming aan kinders in hierdie verband. Ten spyte van beloftes deur die Suid-Afrikaanse regering, gemaak tydens die ratifisering van verskeie internasionale dokumente, geniet die aangeleentheid van beskerming van die kind teen seksuele uitbuiting op die Internet nog nie prioriteit in die Suid- Afrikaanse samelewing nie. Hierdie bevinding word gemaak in die lig van die bestudering van definisies van sekere kernbegrippe, internasionale dokumente soos die Verenigde Nasies se Konvensie van die Regte van die Kind, 1989, en die werksaamhede van internasionale organisasies bemoeid met die bekamping van seksuele eksploitasie van die kind. Daar word ook veral aandag gegee aan die wyse waarop lande soos die Verenigde State van Amerika, Kanada, die Verenigde Koninkryk, Duitsland en Japan te werk gegaan het om kinders in die onderskeie lande te beskerm. Voorstelle ten einde die beskerming van Suid-Afrikaanse kinders teen seksuele eksploitasie op die Internet te verbreed, word ter konklusie gegee. Alhoewel die nuwe terrein dringend regulering benodig, is dit nie In totaal onmoontlike taak om die Internet te kontroleer nie. Die formulering van omvattende, eenvormige en effektiewe wetgewing in die verband is In fundamentele proses in die stryd om kinders te beskerm. Die samewerking van relevante rolspelers en veral die regering, die Internet sektor en lede van die gemeenskap is egter van uiterste belang.

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