South African Parliament passes internet censorship bill
Internet censorship hits South Africa!!!
The Films and Publications Amendment Bill has been signed off by the National Assembly, and will now seek concurrence from the National Council of Provinces and the approval of the President before becoming law.
The bill, which is straight up censorship, has been met with scrutiny from members of industry and the public over fears that the FPB (Film and Publication Board) will regulate user-generated content (YouTube) and possibly block non-compliant online distributors.
Legal expert and opponent of the bill, Nicholas Hall, spoke to BusinessTech about how the bill means that the Bill will allow the FPB to properly classify internet-distributed content and potentially ban films, games and ‘other publications.’
“While technically it is not censorship, it can have the effect of censoring certain content, as seen with (the movie) Inxeba,” he said.
The not so free internet
Other publications include:
-Any newspaper, book, periodical, pamphlet, poster or other printed matter;
-Any writing or typescript which has in any manner been duplicated;
-Any drawing, picture, illustration or painting;
-Any print, photograph, engraving or lithograph;
-Any record, magnetic tape, soundtrack or any other object in or on which sound has been recorded for reproduction;
-Computer software which is not a film;
-The cover or packaging of a film;
-Any figure, carving, statue or model; and
-Any message or communication, including a visual presentation, placed on any distributed network including, but not confined to, the internet.
What does this mean for the user? Although the FPB has the power to censor content, they will most likely only censor content that generates complaints.
Content platforms like Netflix, YouTube, and Steam etc. will have to register as distributors and pay an annual fee based on how much content they have in their library.
Non-compliant platforms may be blocked by ISP’s, meaning that users will not be able to access these platforms.
The only way to stop the internet censorship bill is if the President refuses to sign, an MP asks it to be reviewed or private citizen or other body takes up legal suit deeming it unconstitutional.