CAPE TOWN South Africa(Xinhua) --
South Africa is to introduce a bill that allegedly censor the
The controversial Films and Publications
Amendment Bill, which was introduced to the National Assembly by
Minister of Communications Faith in November last year, will be
presented to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications
This came amid an emergence and avalanche of explicitly
sexual and violent content brought in by the new media push and
cyberspace, Muthambi said Monday, adding that some of the same
content is delivered through traditional distribution platform.
"We are witnessing a failure of self-regulation in certain
sectors of the industry.
"Also, state regulation has its limitations within the
"Therefore, a much coordinated co-regulation model that
provides for the involvement of industry and the government is
required," said the minister.
This Bill does not create a new regulatory regime, but seeks
to strengthen the law by closing the gaps identified in the
Films and Publications Act in relation to online content
regulation, Muthambi added.
The government, she said, is looking at how it can work with
Internet Service Providers (ISP) and the industry to come up
with the best regulatory framework.
"The Department of Communications is not seeking to control
the internet, but safeguard minors and vulnerable persons in the
best way possible," Muthambi noted.
According to data from the Classification Guidelines Review
process, most parents surveyed seem to be of the view that the
state had an obligation to protect their children from exposure
to harmful content.
But the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said it would
raise its objections to number of problematic clauses in the
The Bill, the party claims, is intended to give the FPB
wide-sweeping powers to censor the Internet.
"The DA fears that if this Bill is pushed through Parliament
without due consideration, it will chill free speech enshrined
in the Bill of Rights," said Phumzile van Damme, DA Shadow
Minister of Communications.
The DA says the Bill seeks to extend the reach of the FPB to
include online content and establish a "Penalty Committee" with
powers to impose heavy fines and criminal prosecution of those
deemed to have contravened its provisions.
"Such wide-ranging powers of censorship over all social media
posts need to be carefully considered and worded in such a way
that it would prevent it being abused by the government to
censor, and curb free speech.
"A clear distinction must be made between free speech and
hate speech as defined in the Constitution," said Van Damme.