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A Human Rights Analysis of “Obscenity”/Adult Pornography – A Case Study: South Africa

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About this talk

The presentation investigates and evaluates the merits of adult pornography as “speech” in the context of a liberal Bill of Rights – that of South Africa. The South African Bill of Rights was enacted into law in 1996 and is widely regarded as one of the most progressive in the world – admittedly also one of the newest and most developed.

Delving into the jurisprudence of the South African Constitutional Court (highest court in constitutional matters), the content of the ‘objective normative value system’ established by the Bill of Rights is laid bare. What crystallises is the legitimate scope of the right to freedom of speech and the pre-eminence of human dignity – the inherent worth of the human person, including the human body – as a lodestar for the interpretation and exercise of all human rights.

Takeaway Ideas:

Legitimate scope of the right to free speech Impact of the right to and value of human dignity on the interpretation and exercise of free speech

The meaning of human dignity in the context of sexually explicit “speech”

A legal philosophical understanding of the nature and purpose of the human body

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Ryan Smit (South Africa)

Ryan is a human rights lawyer who focuses on the intersection between freedom of speech and the protection of human dignity in the context of sexually explicit media content.

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