You can now spend 2 years in jail for revenge porn

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You can now spend 2 years in jail for revenge porn
SEX AND LAW: As the Films and Publications Act of South Africa continually gets amended, social media users should be aware of what they share with friends online as the cops are being given powers to effect arrests on offenders who distribute things that are not permitted by the Act. PICTURE by iHarare

“Revenge porn” refers to the sharing or distribution of any nude or sexually explicit material of someone without their permission or consent with the purpose of humiliating or “getting back” at them.


President Cyril Ramaphosa has agreed to the new amendments in the Films and Publications Act to effect arrests on offenders of revenge porn and the 2 years jail term it encompasses.

The law became effective on 1 March 2022 and anyone found in the wrong after this date will face the music.

The law sticks to the rule of permission – it becomes a criminal offence immediately when sexually showing materials are distributed “without the permission” of one or both people involved in the material.

ALSO SEE: Police probe man who distributed video of himself bonking lover on social media

Victims may now lay criminal charges against anyone who distributes or shares this material on social media, in text messages, via any electronic communication or on pornographic websites.

The law also targets those who sell, hire or stream the contents on the internet without the permission of those people in the materials.

Law experts say most of the nude photos being distributed on Twitter, pornographic websites, Facebook and WhatsApp – where the public is asked to send airtime to get them – are actually without the consent of the people in them.

They were just sent between lovers and one of them decided to spread it all over until it reached people who misused them on the internet for money.

ALSO SEE: Refilwe Tsipane’s message to kids: “No sexual affair now”

“No person may expose, through any medium, including the internet and social media, a private sexual photo or video if the disclosure is made without the consent of the individual or individuals who appear in the photo or video and with the intention of causing that individual harm,” the Act states. 

A photo or video is considered ‘private’ if, judging from the context in which the photo or video is taken or made, it was not intended by any individual in the photo or video to be seen by others.

“Any person who knowingly distributes private sexual photographs and films in any medium including the internet and social media, without the prior consent of the individual or individuals, shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding R150,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years,” the law now says.

Also, hate speech, and the owning of a website or any form of internet access that is used for the hosting or distribution of child pornography, propaganda for war, incitement of imminent violence or advocating hatred based is not allowed by the new Act.

(edited by ZK)

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