A CONTROVERSIAL circumcision website is causing an uproar among traditional leaders.
But the Films and Publication Board (FPB) has given it the all- clear as a bona fide scientific site and publication.
The board thought the site had great educational value and highlighted the ills that blight the traditional practice.
The website, www.ulwaluko.co.za– set up by Dr Dingeman Rijken – shows images of mutilated and infected Eastern Cape initiates.
Outraged East Cape traditional leaders and the Community Development Foundation (Codefsa) lodged an official complaint with the FPB this month.
Codefsa asked for the website to be shut down immediately.
It based its complaint on:
The site portraying sexually explicit pictures;
There being no age restriction for accessing the website;
No warning to sensitive viewers being published.
Other complaints were that carrying pictures of male private parts was contrary to patient and doctor confidentiality and was against the ethics that govern health professionals and the health sector.
It was also claimed there was no clear indication that the owner of the website had obtained consent from the patients.
Although the FPB found the site contained material which could be disturbing and harmful to children, it nevertheless applauded it.
“It must be borne in mind that even though the website contains graphic images, it is a bona fide scientific publication with great educative value.
“The website highlights the malice that bedevils this rich cultural practice. It does not condemn this rich cultural practice but makes a clear plea for it to be regulated so that the deaths do not occur.”
But the board unanimously agreed that an age restriction was required to protect children. It said a warning to prevent children under the age of 13 seeing it had to be published on the site.
Rijken, who is in Malawi at present, said he was pleasantly surprised by the FPB outcome.
He added that the age restriction requested had been put in place on Monday.
“I am impressed that they wanted 14-year-old boys to be able to access the website since they also go for initiation.”
Rijken said between 1995 and now, 825 initiates had lost their lives and thousands had been left mutilated.
But Codefsa executive director Nkululeko Nxesi said the foundation was disappointed at the outcome, given the explicit nature of the website.
“We will definitely appeal the decision,” Nxesi said. The Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders will join in the appeal,