South Africans have until the end of April to make written submissions to voice their opinion on the rather controversial Film and Publications Amendment Bill 2015.
The FPB bill, according to the Department of Communications, seeks to strengthen the law regarding explicit and violent content, outlaw child pornography online and decriminalise the online distribution of adult content.
If you would like to write to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on the issue, you have to do so by 12:00 on 29 April. Submissions can be sent directly to the Portfolio Committee at WS3/106 3Rd Floor, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town, 8001.
The Bill aims to implement a number of changes in the way things are classified and consumed on the internet, but some fear that it will result in unnecessary censorship.
If you don’t feel like writing a letter, you could always attend one of the public hearings, which have been scheduled for 24 and 25 May this year.
Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi in February presented the draft bill to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications.
“We are witnessing a failure of self-regulation in certain sectors of the industry. Also, state regulation has its limitations within the industry,” Minister Muthambi reiterated recently.
“Therefore, a much more coordinated 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,” she said.
In August last year, the Right2Know Campaign (R2K) called on the FPB to publish the records of its public hearings and all the written submissions the FPB received, after Cabinet approved the Film and Publications Amendment Bill last year.
“There is every reason to believe that Cabinet is attempting to push through the FPB’s envisioned internet censorship regime, outlined in its Draft Online Regulation Policy, in the face of massive public opposition. We believe the record of public comment will confirm that the majority of South Africans want a free internet,” R2K said in a statement.