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South African media slammed for highlighting explicit gang rape footage

Johannesburg, Thu, 19 Apr 2012 ANI
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Johannesburg, Apr 19 (ANI): The media's use of screen shots and audio clips from a video of a Soweto teenager being gang raped has raised questions and debate among people of Gauteng, South Africa.

The video was apparently filmed on cellphone camera and shows a 17-year-old girl being raped by at least seven males.

The rape video went "viral" and has become one of the most searched topics on social networking sites like Twitter.

Mthunzi Mhag, a spokersperson for National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), said the organisation had "reservations" about the use of the video by media and warned the public against accessing it, as it was clearly a case of child pornography.

"Possession and circulation of child pornography is a criminal offence and we won't hesitate to prosecute anyone arrested by the police," News24 quoted Mhag, as saying.

The girl, who was reported missing on March 25, was found in a house in Braamfischerville on Wednesday. The five men and two boys were arrested in Dobsonville the next day.

Chief Executive of Film and Publications Board Yoliswa Makhasi expressed shock and anger over the way the public went looking for the video on social networking sites.

"We also urge the media not to publish links or explicit images emanating from the 'rape video'," she said.

Journalism Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand Anton Harber said media could argue that the use of images and audio was in the public interest, but added the usage of footage should be done with "extreme caution and sensitivity". (ANI)

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