FPB focuses on combating child porn in Eastern Cape

AUGUST 12, 2015

The Film and Publication Board (FPB) says it has had to put more effort to combat a growing problem of child pornography and general child abuse in the Eastern Cape, where several people working for international rings have appeared in court.

“We have seen an increase in rape cases and cases of abuse in the Eastern Cape as compared to other provinces, this is why we have focused on outreach activities in the province,” Janine Raftopoulos, Manager: Communications and Public Education at the FPB, told RNews.

The Eastern Cape is generally a poor province and most people would never think it is the top destination for child porn syndicates in South Africa (according to some research).

“From what we experience when, we conduct outreach activities with schools and communities across the country, victims usually come from poor communities, and perpetrators are preying on their circumstances and taking advantage of this. However, this is not to say that victims don't come from higher income households,” Raftopoulos described. 

The FPB is currently working on an Online Regulation Policy and recently conducted public hearings to try and curb the production and distribution of child porn online in South Africa.

“The FPB recently developed a draft Online Regulation Policy in pursuant of section 4A of the Films and Publications Act, 61 of 1996, as amended.  Over the years and as it stands, the legislation is not platform specific, and the FPB’s compliance and classification activities have been focused more on physical platforms and less on the online space (Internet, mobile), leaving the gate open, for children being exposed to potentially harmful and unclassified content and online predators,” explained Raftopoulos. 

“The policy is meant to address such challenges. Broadly speaking, the policy seeks to ensure compliance by online distributors of content, which falls within the ambit of the provisions of the Film and Publication Act 65 of 1996 (which is namely films, games and those publications which do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Press Ombudsman) as far as classification and display thereof.

“The policy further seeks to make provision for a co-regulation approach in light of the vast and ever-increasing content which is available and uploaded online.  The FPB will remain responsible for the regulatory oversight ,which will entail inter alia  auditing the distributors complaints handling mechanism, providing training to the classification guidelines and liaising with the law enforcement agents on issues of non-compliance.” 

She said that parents, guardians, teachers and the community at large can help in ensuring that the province’s children are not exploited by sexual predators.

“It is the responsibility of all of us, be it parents, teachers, learners, members of the community to ensure we all play a part in ensuring children are educated and informed of the various dangers and how to be safe and alert particularly in the online space,” Raftopoulos said.   

“For example, as an organization, the FPB seeks to protect children from exposure to harmful materials as it relates to our mandate. To give some context and to achieve this, we raise awareness of the regulatory framework, through various projects, programmes and outreach activities throughout the year, reaching out to industry, learners, teachers parents and guardians. We conduct workshops, training, facilitation sessions related to child protect and child pornography, classification and regulation as well as legal workshops related. 

“We also participate in exhibitions, conferences, imbizos conducted by government, as well as expos where we engage and interact with stakeholders. Some of these include our Back-2-School campaign that ensures learners, educators, care givers, parents and ultimately South Africans are sensitized about the risks of the cyber world, but that they are also informed about responsible digital engagement.”