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S.African ban lifted on 'child porn' film

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A South African censorship appeals tribunal on Saturday lifted a ban on a film that was barred as 'child pornography' over a sex scene between a schoolteacher and a pupil.Getty Images/AFP/File

A South African censorship appeals tribunal on Saturday lifted a ban on a film that was barred as "child pornography" over a sex scene between a schoolteacher and a pupil.

The local film "Of Good Report" was cleared after a challenge by the organisers of the Durban International Film Festival where it was meant to be the opening feature last week.

The film will now be screened on Sunday, the final day of the festival.

The movie's plot revolves around a small-town school where a predatory teacher attracted to young girls targets a 16-year-old student, played by a 23-year-old actress.

The country's censorship authority said it was "very disappointed and saddened" by the move to set aside its decision by its appeals tribunal

"The film 'Of Good Report' falls within the definition of child pornography," the Film and Publication Board said, maintaining that their decision "was and remains correct".

The board had refused to classify the movie.

It has now received the nod for viewers aged 16 and above with warnings of sex, nudity, violence and strong language.

Legally, the creation, production, possession, and distribution of child pornography is a criminal offence.

The decision to bar the film was slammed as a "rigid and simplistic interpretation of the law" by the Freedom of Expression Institute.

Sex between older men and young girls is a major cause of HIV in South Africa, which has the world's largest population living with AIDS -- over five million.

South Africa's age of consent is 16 but the country's publication laws only allow the portrayal of sex from 18 years upwards.