South Africa to ban porn in run-up to World Cup

As South Africa gears up for the football World Cup this week, its government has announced plans to kick online pornography out of the country.

The Internet and Cell Phone Pornography Bill, announced by Deputy Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, seeks to impose a total ban on porn entering the country via the Internet or mobile phones.

Introducing the Bill, Gigaba attempted to head off accusations of censorship, saying: "Cars are already provided with brakes and seatbelts, it is not an extra that consumers have to pay for. There is no reason why the Internet should be provided without the necessary restrictive mechanisms built into it.

"The Bill is aimed at the total ban of pornography on Internet and mobile phones," he added. "United Arab Emirates and Yemen already have legislation in this regard. Australia and New Zealand are currently seeking to do so."

The legislation places the responsibility for filtering out offending material on South Africa's ISPs: "Any Internet service provider or Mobile phone service provider who distributes, or allows to be distributed through the Internet or through a mobile phone in the Republic of South Africa, any pornography, shall be guilty of an offence and liable, upon conviction, to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment."

Australia came under fire last month for plans that would allow customs officials to search the laptops of those entering the country for evidence of porn.