Pornography hurts adults, children, couples, families, and the whole of society. So says Family Police Institute director Errol Naidoo, highlighting pornography’s destructive impact on communities. The activist was commenting on the licensing of three pornographic television channels by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to StarSat. A group of concerned organisations are currently challenging the ruling in the Western Cape High Court.
“It is harmful to women and it demeans and degrades them. It is also harmful to children, because younger and younger children are getting access to it, getting addicted to it. It is basically destroying their lives,” he told VOC Breakfast Beat.
Icasa have been accused of failing to follow the proper regulations in their granting of the license. The ruling was made, despite numerous submissions from the respective organisations, which highlighted the detrimental effects of pornography on society. The organisations include the Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA), Cause for Justice, and Doctors for Life.
Naidoo accused Icasa of granting the license under “suspicious circumstances”. He suggested the decision may have been influenced by political motives, especially since StarSat’s predecessor, TopTV, was threatening to go out of business when the application was first made.
“There are some government agencies that have invested in it. Cosatu has invested in TopTV, and they stood to lose millions of rands. I believe the license was granted as an attempt to turn around TopTV as a business,” he claimed.
According to him, the three organisations in opposition to the granting of the license, would all be taking different angles on the case, with the issue of morality being top of the agenda. He highlighted the damning statistic that more than 64 500 women were being raped every year in South Africa.
He noted that when TopTV had initially submitted an application for the license, it was turned down by Icasa on the basis that it would ‘undermine and harm the dignity, and equality of women in South Africa’.
“Two years later they are doing an about-turn on that very statement they made, and then go ahead and grant them that license,” he said.
Naidoo said there were mountains of evidence indicating the negative effects of pornography, noting that even secular and liberal institutions were starting to accept the risk posed by it.
“Nations like the United Kingdom and Iceland, who are very liberal, have both moved towards blocking pornography on the internet because of the harm it poses to children,” he said.
He noted that exposure to porn at such a young age, could result in the child struggling to have normal relationships at an older age, because it would pervert their understanding of human sexuality. Men who viewed pornography on a regular basis, tended to view women as “sex objects, and not as human beings”. This, according to him, was fuelling the country’s rape crisis.
He was confident the court action would result in the ruling being overturned. He also called on the community to submit letters towards the relevant government officials, urging them to take decisive steps towards having pornography barred from South African television. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)