Johannesburg - A Film and Publication Board (FPB) ruling that a website has the right to publish graphic images of botched traditional circumcisions was upheld by the Appeal Tribunal on Tuesday.
This was after the Community Development Foundation for SA (Codefsa) filed an appeal application last week after the FPB ruled that Dutch doctor Dingeman Rijken's website was a “bona fide scientific publication with great educative value”.
The FPB gave the website, www.ulwaluko.co.za, a rating of 13N, meaning it showed nudity and was only suitable for people older than 13. The website contains photographs of the penises of initiates who fell victim to botched circumcisions.
The Appeal Tribunal's interim decision reaffirmed the FPB's rating of 13N.
It ruled that the website must display the FPB's logo indicating that people under age 13 were not permitted to view the website.
The website's landing page had to display this warning: “Some people because of cultural or other sensitivities may find the pictures appearing on this website to be offensive or disturbing”.
The full reasons behind the Appeal Tribunal's findings would be released at a later stage.
Codefsa complained that the website's images were pornographic, compromised doctor-patient confidentiality and prejudiced and violated the cultural rights of black people.
Rijken said in an email on Tuesday: “Contralesa has contacted me... to request for a meeting to discuss a way forward, which I am very happy about.”
He said he would be willing to take the photographs off the website provided “they come up with an adequate plan to curb deaths and mutilations”.
Rijken previously said he had received consent for each photograph posted on the website, and that the deaths and mutilations undermined customs and violated cultural rights. He said it was preposterous to equate pictures of mutilated penises with pornography.