South Africa’s National Assembly passes the Films and Publications Amendment Bill
On 6 March 2018, the South African National Assembly approved the Films and Publications Amendment Bill B37B-2015 (the FPAB).
The FPAB will potentially have wide-ranging consequences, particularly online. As stated in the Memorandum on the Objects of the FPAB:
Until recently, the [Film and Publication Board] has predominately 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 [Film and Publication 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.
Accordingly, the FPAB includes provisions relating to the regulation of the online distribution of films and games; the extension of the compliance obligations under the Films and Publications Act, 1996, and the compliance and monitoring functions of the Films and Publications Board to online distributors; and the further obligations of internet service providers regarding the use of their services in propagating prohibited content.
The FPAB has been met with mixed responses, with some amendments being welcomed whilst others being severely criticised. The report of the Portfolio Committee on Communications on the FPAB public hearings, dated 20 February 2018, is accessible here.
The FPAB will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for approval, before it can be sent to the President for signature.
The FPAB is accessible here.
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