Faith Muthambi will on Tuesday present to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications an amendment bill which seeks to “decriminalise the online distribution of adult content and allow for regulations by the Film and Publication Board (FPB)
Muthambi‚ the minister of communications‚ said on Monday the Films and Publications Amendment Bill — introduced to the National Assembly in November last year – “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”.
This was‚ a statement from Muthambi’s office said‚ in response to the “an emergence and avalanche of explicitly sexual and violent content brought in by the new media push and cyberspace that has no physical borders”.
The bill was also needed because of a “failure of self-regulation in certain sectors of the industry” as well as an acknowledgement that “state regulation has its limitations within the industry”.
“Therefore‚ a much co-ordinated co-regulation model that provides for the involvement of industry and the government is required. Such a model will need to have clearly defined roles‚ responsibilities and accountability levels‚” said Muthambi.
Muthambi stressed that her department “is not seeking to control the internet‚ but safeguard minors and vulnerable persons in the best way possible”.
To this end‚ it provided for the establishment of “a co-regulation system that will allow for accreditation by the FPB of independent classification bodies which will classify their own digital films‚ games and publications”.
The “co-regulation approach” would probably run in tandem with “an effective penalty regime”.