Sharing naked photos of others without their permission could soon land you in serious trouble

By Mieke Vlok
31 August 2016

“It has become a social norm for teenagers to send naked pictures to one another‚” says social media lawyer Emma Sadlier, emphasising that teenagers were especially vulnerable in this regard.

People who share naked photos of others without their permission may soon be penalised harshly.

The portfolio committee of the department of communication met yesterday in Cape Town and hosted a public meeting for the discussion of whether revenge porn, as the phenomenon is known, should be declared illegal. This doesn’t only include naked photos that are shared as revenge but any explicit or naked photos which are shared without the subject’s permission. “It is an incredible helpless position for a victim to find themselves in,” said social media lawyer Emma Sadlier. She is campaigning for the strictest possible punishment and says it’s high time that people who are responsible for these humiliating breaches of privacy are penalised. Emma and other supporters ask that amendments be made to the Law on Films and Publications so that this sort of behaviour can be seen as breaking the law.

She and other legal experts, like advocate Pierre Smith of the national prosecuting authority’s division for sex crimes and community affairs, and Ryan Smith of the human rights group Cause for Justice, took part of the public meeting. Ben Winks, a legal expert, was also present.
The recent incident in Schweizer-Reneke in North West (where a mother accidently sent an intimate photograph to a Whatsapp group and the picture subsequently went viral) was also mentioned in the meeting. Special attention was given to the trend amongst young people to send, receive and share naked photos.

“It has become a social norm for teenagers to send naked pictures to one another‚” said Emma, emphasising that teenagers were especially vulnerable in this regard.

Read more:

Mom accidentally sends naughty pic to WhatsApp group, becomes an internet sensation

Kids sending sex messages as young as 12 – here's how to deal with children ‘sexting’

Boksburg man allegedly shared nude photos of girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter

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