08 November 2017, Centurion.The Film and Publication Board (FPB) welcome the sentencing of Mr. William Beale on more than 18 000 counts of possession of child pornography. Mr. Beale pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 15 years in jail which is the maximum sentence for possession of child pornography. The Film and Publication Board was instrumental in assisting the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) in drawing up the charge sheet for this case as well as consulting with the Senior Public Prosecutor regarding the summary of the child pornographic images.
According to Child Protection Officer of the FPB, content analysed contained images of children below the ages of two years. In some images the children were depicted being sexually abused by the perpetrator. These images were being used for continued sexual gratification by the perpetrator. Videos were also analysed and found to contain child pornography depicting children between the ages of two and seventeen being involved in sexual activities. Some of the videos were found to show the faces of the minors which included both male and female gender.
The Child Protection Officer is trained on Safety and Risk Assessment in the field of Child Protection services and Certified Content Analyst. He was requested to act as an expert witness alongside the law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of the said case. The Child Protection Officer is responsible for providing integrated Child Protection Services through adhering to the established standards, framework and policies as per the FPB mandate with all the requirements of the Act.
The Child Protection function of the FPB inspects and analyses content reported or referred to the FPB on suspicion of Child Pornography as defined in Section 1 e (i), (ii) and (iii) of the Films and Publications Act. Such content is usually referred by law enforcement agencies, and members of the public daily. The purpose of the analysis is to provide the Court with information needed to assist in determining whether the content submitted to the FPB constitutes child pornography/child sexual abuse material or not.
The Films and Publications Act (The Act) prohibits the creation, possession and distribution of child pornography and thus view the conviction and sentencing as a strong message to perpetrators of child pornography. The Act was established as a juristic person and derives its mandate from the Film and Publication Act (Act 65 of 1996) which was amended in 2004 and again 2009 to take into account the rapidly changing nature of distribution of content because of technological advances. Changing social norms and standards were also taken into account in the amendment of the Act.
According to the FPB Act “child pornography” includes any image, however created, or any description of a person, real or simulated, who is, or who is depicted, made to appear, look like, represented or described as being under the age of 18 years-
(i) Engaged in sexual conduct;
(ii) Participating in, or assisting another person to participate in, sexual conduct; or;
(iii) Showing or describing the body, or parts of the body, of such a person in a manner or in circumstances which, within context, amounts to sexual exploitation, or in such a manner that it is capable of being used for the purposes of sexual exploitation;
FPB is a member of the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE) which is an active and collaborative global network of Hotlines which is aimed at curbing both the exposure of children to pornography as well as the distribution of material containing child pornography. Our membership INHOPE has extended the network and resources available, therefore increasing the effectiveness with which the FPB executes its mandate. The FPB will continue to work closely with the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted.
As we work towards the 16 Days Campaign against Women and Children, we urge parents to be vigilant with children in their care. The abuse of children continues to be a challenge that the country needs to work collectively to overcome.
Notes to the editor
The objective of the Act of 1996 is to regulate the creation, production, possession and distribution of films, games and certain publications, and more recently certain online content. This is done to provide consumer advice to enable adults to make informed viewing, reading and gaming choices for themselves and children in their care; to protect children from exposure to disturbing and harmful material and from premature exposure to adult experiences, and to make the use of children in, and the exposure of children to pornography, punishable.
Paramount to the mandate of the FPB is the protection of children. Protecting children under the Act is a proportional balancing of the rights afforded in the South African Constitution and Bill of Rights against the right of the child. The protection of children as enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or moral harm to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. It further ensures that children’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning a child.
For media enquiries contact:
Miss Manala Botolo
Acting Manager Communications and Public Education
Cell: 082 860 6748
Tel: 012 003 1400