New Blog Raises Free Speech Issues

A new blog appearing in South Africa, which purports to be written by a former male prostitute from that country, has become the focus of a criminal investigation. The blog offers detailed descriptions of alleged sexual behavior by prominent South Africans, including political leaders, a rugby star, a stage performer and a church minister. A problem in attempting to uncover the identity of the prostitute stems from their use of a non-South African Internet service provider.

We will not post any linkage to this blog because to do so would subject us to colluding with this individual in what might constitute a criminal action. However, the blog raises several interesting issues regarding free speech. Does an individual who engaged in consensual sex with the understanding their sexual encounter was a private experience have any rights to privacy? Or, does the other party who engaged in such sexual intercourse have the right to inform the entire world about what happened? Is it a violation of law to place on blogs explicit descriptions of sexual behavior?

This blog has brought to the fore some fascinating new issues regarding our rights in a free society. People have been going to prostitutes for thousands of years, sometimes legally, sometimes illegally, but now the Internet is empowering prostitutes with the right to speak loudly concerning the interaction. Although a believer in literally unlimited free speech, this situation causes me to pause and reflect. I believe it is akin to unscrupulous prostitutes who have secret cameras which film a sexual encounter in order to obtain financial compensation. My gut reaction is that posting these descriptions transforms the other individual into a victim and the prostitute into a victimizer. Perhaps the male prostitute can offer a rationale for posting descriptions other than providing cheap thrills to the sick in mind, but I agree with South African authorities that seek to prosecute the prostitute.

We welcome your comments on this interesting free speech issue.
Information from Mail & Guardian of South Africa