Film board resumes hearings into Zuma portrait

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pretoria - A hearing by the Film and Publication Board (FPB), which will discuss the controversial painting that depicts President Jacob Zuma in an offensive manner, is underway in Pretoria.

The committee is expected to decide on the status of the painting after they received several written and telephonic complaints from the public, who found the portrait to be offensive.

According to the FPB, the committee will sit solely to hear representations from City Press, the Goodman Gallery and Avusa Media before it classifies the painting in line with the Film and Publications Act -- a decision which could be known later today or tomorrow.

If classified, the portrait may neither be display nor may its copies be published on websites.

The FPB has already sent out a team of five classifiers to view and classify the portrait by Brett Murray, which was on display at the Goodman Gallery.

The hearing itself was postponed last week because the parties from City Press and the Goodman Gallery argued that they were not given enough time to prepare.

FPB CEO Yoliswa Makhasi recused herself from the hearing following a complaint from the City Press that she was biased.

The portrait has since been defaced by two men at the gallery, who are yet to appear in court. The gallery has also temporarily closed its doors to the public.

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee yesterday removed the picture of the portrait from the publication's website.

Meanwhile, scores of ANC supporters have started arriving at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg to participate in the march to the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank.

Officials say police will keep an eye on the day's proceedings.

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