Films and Publications Amendment Bill [B 37–2015]

Call for comments opened 07 April 2016 Share this page:

Submissions are now closed (since 26 May 2016)

Communications and Digital Technologies

The Portfolio Committee on Communications invites you to submit written comments on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill [B 37–2015].

The Bill seeks to amend the Films and Publications Act, 1996, so as to:
insert and amend certain definitions;
provide for the establishment of, the composition of, and appointment of, members of the Penalty Committee;
provide for the powers and duties of the Penalty Committee;
regulate online distribution of digital films and digital games;
extend the functions of the Film and Publication Board of monitoring compliance with the Films and Publications Act;
include online distributors in respect of the requirements to comply with the Films and Publications Act;
revise and further regulate the functions of compliance officers regarding the entering and inspection of premises and facilities in which the business of the sale, hire or exhibition of films or games is being conducted;
further regulate the classification of publications, films and games; to provide for independent industry classification bodies accreditation thereof by the Film and Publication Board;
provide for classification of publications, films and games by the independent industry classification bodies;
provide for foreign classification systems and approval thereof by the Film and Publication Board;
provide for the use of classification ratings issued by a foreign classification authority or body;
provide for the right of appeal against classifications issued by independent industry classification bodies;
provide for exemptions in respect of online distribution of films and games;
further provide for the obligations of internet service providers regarding curbing the use of their services in advocating racism and hate speech;
revise and strengthen penal provisions.

Comments can be emailed to Mr Thembinkosi Ngoma at [email protected] by no later than Tuesday, 26 May 2016 at 16:00.

Please indicate your interest in making a verbal presentation to the Committee.

Enquiries can be directed to Mr Thembinkosi Ngoma on tel (021) 403 3733 or cell 083 709 8407

Issued by Ms D Tsotetsi, MP, Acting Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications.

The Film and Publication Board (‘‘Board’’) is a statutory body established in terms of the Films and Publications Act, 1996 (Act No. 65 of 1996) (‘‘Act’’), whose main objective is to regulate the creation, possession, production and distribution of films, games and certain publications with a view to protect children from disturbing and harmful content and to provide information on content to adults to enable them to make informed viewing, gaming and reading choices for both themselves and for children in their care. The Act further makes the use of children in, and the exposure of children to, pornography, punishable. Until recently, the Board has predominantly focused its classification and monitoring attention and activities on physical platforms and less on digital platforms and social media. The increasing demands for online content and technological advances require the Board to extend its focus to the regulation of content on these diverse platforms. In this regard, it is necessary for the applicable legislation, policies and procedures to reflect these demands and technological advances. In view of the aforementioned, it has thus become necessary to evaluate whether the Act and other pieces of legislation are still aligned with the constitutional values of the Republic of South Africa, aimed at protecting children against disturbing and harmful content, and whether the Act makes adequate provisions for technological advances, especially on online, social and media platforms. Research commissioned by the Board (conducted by PYGMA Consulting and Bridge IT) highlights gaps in the current Act and further recommends urgent amendments thereto.