One more voice has come out in opposition to the Film and Publication Board’s Draft Online Regulation Policy as we creep ever closer to the deadline date for submissions.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) says the draft policy is a threat to individual freedom of expression of digitally-active South African businesses and poses an obstacle to the growth and health of the online industry.

The IAB points out that implementing and enforcing the policy will present operational challenges for the FPB because  the regulator has granted itself vague and extensive censorship powers.

The two hundred member organisation adds that the increase in the number of  digitally active people in South Africa also means that pre-classification as proposed by the policy would be difficult to implement and enforce.

IAB head of regulatory affairs Andrew Allison says that while his organisation shares some of the FPB’s concerns about the harm children may experience on the internet they disagree with the approach adopted by the regulator and will share ideas through submissions ahead of the July 15th deadline.

“The overwhelming majority of content disseminated via digital media is not harmful, and the mechanisms contained in the Draft Policy are unduly onerous and excessive.”

The IAB has in turn suggested that upgrades to the current Press Council which it has been working on with the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) and Press Council as a better alternative.

“We believe that this augmented Council will responsibly and properly address the majority of concerns that the FPB’s Draft Policy is trying to tackle” added Allison in a statement where he also expresses commitment to working with the FPB to find what he describes as “…fair and constitutionally-sound solutions.”