On Carte Blanche last night the proposed pre-censorship role of the Film & Publications Board was discussed, a role which is contained in the Draft Online Regulation Policy, gazetted in March this year. It intends to ‘police‘ everything published on the Internet, including Blogs, websites, posts on Facebook, and more!
The Proposed policy calls on any person wishing to distribute any films, games, ‘or certain publication in the Republic of South Africa’, to register with the Film & Publications Board for a digital publisher’s online distribution agreement, and pay a subscription fee, as a distributor of films, games, and publications. Individuals would be included as well.
Once one wishes to distribute content, the work must be submitted to the Film & Publications Board ‘for classification‘ before it is allowed to be published!
The Right2Know campaign is speaking out about the proposed publication pre-censorship, and is requesting the public to sign a petition to scrap these regulations. Not only is pre-censorship unacceptable, say the campaign organizers, but the time taken to receive approval would kill the immediacy of being able to publish valuable information on the Internet. Not everyone may be able to afford the subscription fee demanded, say the Campaign organizers. The draft regulation even allows ‘classifiers‘ to visits the homes of ‘citizen journalists’ and ordinary Internet users! It appears that the central focus of the proposed legislation is that it ‘protect children from harmful or disturbing material‘. The Campaign organizers state that existing legislation will deal with the threat of child pornography.
The regulations would make the simple act of posting content, such as this Blogpost for example, a criminal act. However, the Film and Publications Act of 1996 only gives the Film and Publications Board the right to issue guidelines, but not to legislate. Furthermore the Board only has jurisdiction over games and films, according to the 1996 Act, and not over published content.
In preparing the new daft legislation, no input was obtained from individuals, only industry stakeholders having met behind closed doors!
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here