Revenge porn could soon be a criminal offence in South Africa

Many sexually explicit photographs and videos end up on social media, without the consent of the person being portrayed in the images.

The Portfolio Committee on Communications will hold public hearings at Parliament to look into the criminalisation of revenge porn, a new criminal offence in the Films and Publications Act Amendment Bill.

Revenge porn is described as the distribution of someone's private pictures or videos without their consent, on any medium.

Emma Sadlier, a lawyer who specialises in social media law says the decision to amend the Film and Publication Act, to decriminalise revenge porn, would basically mean that if found guilty, you could be arrested or fined.

She says this decision to amend the Bill comes at the right time, more especially since children have become involved in sexting, texting sexually explicit conversation and images.

We need to make sure that there are laws in place to protect these children says Sadlier.

It is an incredible helpless position for a victim to find themselves in this position, which is why i say prevention is better that cure

Emma Sadlier, Social media specialist

Sadlier also spoke about a recent case that took place in North West Province, where a woman sent a picture of her private parts meant for her husband, to her hockey moms WhatsApp group. One of the moms leaked the image on the internet, and the image ended up trending for a few days on social media.

She says she can't believe that many people have found this case so humorous, adding 'it is all fun and games until someone commits suicide'.

According to Sadlier revenge porn is a big problem not only abroad but in south Africa as well and it needs urgent solutions.

I get at least three messages a day from victims or parents of victims

Emma Sadlier, Social media specialist

Listen to the full conversation below:

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