Religious groups protested against late night pornography screened on e-TV outside the broadcaster's offices in Cape Town on Saturday.

"We have had enough! Porn on free-to-air national television is outrageous.

"There are many parentless homes in South Africa and many homes where children are not supervised as to what they are watching," said Taryn Hodgson, the international co-ordinator of the Christian Action Network.

"R18 restrictions are not enough to prevent children from watching these films."

Members of Africa Christian Action, Christians for Truth and other mission organisations and churches on Saturday in a bid to rid the channel of the films which "fuel rape and abuse".

Hodgson said e-TV's regulatory affairs executive officer Olefile Bop Tshweu denied the link between pornography and sexual abuse.

""We submit that in broadcasting these films the timeslot is appropriate, the warnings are adequate, the content does not breach the code and there is no evidence that these films contribute to sexual crimes," Tshweu wrote, in response to a letter presented by the network to e-TV.

Hodgson quoted a report on a study by a Johannesburg-based therapeutic manager which found that child sex offenders generally turned television into a "surrogate care-giver" due to absent parents and "unmet emotional needs".

"Even so-called soft core pornography has been shown to fuel sexual abuse.

"It desensitises the viewer by objectifying the women. This can lead to addiction and a desire to view more hard core material," she said.

"I can not believe that e-TV feels no sense of social responsibility for the harm they are causing. Considering that South Africa has some of the highest rape statistics in the world and one of the highest HIV prevalence rates..."

The network hoped to discourage advertising during the screening of pornographic films on the channel.

Protests were also planned outside the broadcasters studios in Bloemfontein and Durban in July and August. - Sapa