South Africa's Freedom of Speech online

Photo: Pixabay

Why South Africa’s online freedom is at risk

The Film and Publication Amendment Bill stands to change South African content creation drastically.

South Africa's Freedom of Speech online

Photo: Pixabay

In terms of entertainment, South Africa has certainly got a high level of freedom.

We are able to create online content, upload it an publish it without being worried about being cuffed.

Until now…

New Bill to reduce online freedom

The Amendment to the Film and Publications Act received the go ahead from Parliament and the National Council of Provinces on 19 March 2019 and was sent to the president to be approved.

All it takes is the signature from the president and it’ll be law.

The Bill was first Introduced on 22 November 2015 and after it lapsed in December 2017, the National Assembly agreed to revive it in February 2018.

And now it is a signature away from being becoming a reality for content creators all over.

This means that if you fail to register to the Film and Publications Board and content is uploaded, well, let’s just say that the consequences will not be too peachy.

What the Amendment Bill means for your online freedom

The Amendment to Film and Publications Act States that;

“Any person who knowingly distributes or exhibits in public a film or game without first having registered with the Board as a distributor or exhibitor of films or games shall be guilty of an offence and liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding R150 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding eight months or to both a fine and such imprisonment.”

The biggest issue with this law is the implementation of it if the president signs it off, as policing the internet is near impossible.

However, it’s not all bad

New Bill brings positives

However, there are many positives to this Bill such as;

“The objects of the Act are to be broadened to criminalise explicitly the possession, production and distribution of child pornography and to create offences for “non-compliance with classification of the Board”

This means that the main aim of this Amendment Bill is to curb online crime which comes from the creating or distributing of content online.