Films, Publications Bill sent to Parly

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The office of the Deputy Minister of Communications and the Film and Publication Board (FPB) have welcomed the adoption of the Films and Publications Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Communications. 

The Portfolio Committee deliberated clause-by-clause on the Bill, and adopted the report to recommend the Bill to the National Assembly for debate and final adoption.

Deputy Minister Tandi Mahambehlala said the Bill is a welcoming development during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, and a decisive step towards curbing the scourge of gender-based violence.

“The Bill seeks to protect children from exposure to illegal content distributed online and exposure to harmful content (pornography, sex, violence, etc) online, as premature exposure could have adverse psychological and behavioural impact on children,” Deputy Minister Mahambehlala said.

The Bill demands that Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) block all websites hosting refused classification content.

The said content includes child abuse and child sexual abuse material, depiction of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug abuse, and/or material that advocates the committing of terrorist acts.

It also reaffirms the FPB’s role to protect any persons who would have consented during the production of content, especially sex, but does not agree that such content be distributed for public consumption. 

Victims of fake news or revenge porn will be protected by the Bill and are eligible to approach the FPB for recourse.

FPB’s Acting Chief Operations Officer Abongile Mashele said the Bill has catered for the establishment of the Enforcement Committee (EC), to provide for speedy resolutions in certain cases that fall under the EC, including issuing fines. 

Mashele added that there will be cases where the FPB will work directly with justice courts for prosecution.

“We welcome the establishment of the EC as FPB currently only has monitoring powers over content distributors, but cannot ensure enforcement of the Films and Publications Act,” Mashele said. –

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