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South Africa official calls for 'outright ban' on pornography

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A South African government official is calling for the country to pursue a complete ban on pornography as a way to combat online child porn.

On Tuesday, South Africa's Department of Home Affairs said it's developing an inter-departmental protocol to shield kids against child porn in time for the country hosting the 2010 World Cup next June. While details are vague, the DHA's Deputy Minster Malusi Gigaba is advocating an extremely hard-line approach to the issue:

"South Africa should explore an outright ban on pornography in the public media as is the practice in countries such as China and India," Gigaba stated in the Department's announcement. He further vowed to approach the South African Law Reform Commission with a request to investigate and make recommendations on instituting the ban.

"The increase of access to technology and mobile internet, with all its benefits, also poses risks such as creation and distribution of child pornography," Gigaba stated. "We need to be proactive in protecting children against this heinous crime."

South Africa would join an ever-lengthening list of countries that have decided to make porn a criminal offense, including the recent induction of Ukraine.

The Chinese government goes to great lengths to enforce its ban on internet pornography, claiming that the titillating media harms the physical and mental health of young people. From a censorship standpoint, however, China has the benefit of the Great Firewall to repel the porn-addled tubes of foreign nations more effectively.

But China was recently forced to retreat from a scheme to install so-called anti-pornography software on every computer sold in the country after the program was heavily criticized on several fronts. The country will now only require the software to be installed in schools, internet cafes, and other public places.

China goes about the ban by blocking results and occasionally publicly shaming its biggest search engines such as Baidu and Google China for the websites including links to pornographic material and other content found "vulgar" or "violating public morality." In June, the Chinese government also announced it would recruit "internet supervisors" from the public who will be charged with reporting individuals and business accessing unsanctioned content from the web. ®

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