In February 2022, the Film and Publication Board released its latest draft of the classification guidelines for publications in South Africa, inviting the public to comment.
The Films and Publications Amendment Act of 2019 has attracted criticism since its proposal. As the board seeks to revise its guidelines to take into account the developments of online streaming and social media, broad definitions, concerns over censorship, and the board’s expanded scope have many worried about the ramifications of the amendment.
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The recently published Draft Classification Guidelines for the Classification of Films, Games, and Certain Publications propose a number of amendments.
When reading the draft, new amendments are underlined. Meanwhile, content that is being removed from the act is contained in square brackets.
This includes the removal of old definitions, adding new requirements, and slight tweaks to language.
How to access the draft guidelines from the Film and Publication Board
Before you send in your comments, we recommend you have a look at the draft yourself.
While the media can interpret the draft based on our understanding, people from different backgrounds will always have their own insights.
The full document is available on the FPB website (link opens as PDF).
Some key additions to the draft include requiring all films and games to be submitted for the FPB for classification. This includes those published or streamed online and through social media.
While the FPB media FAQ says that the board does not aim to regulate user-generated content (UGC) online unless it receives a complaint or it contains prohibited content, the draft classifications do not explicitly outline this.
Social media users have also outlined a range of items they’ve found problematic in the draft.
If you’re concerned about how it may affect your access to games, films, or your ability to share them, you should take a look for yourself.
How to submit comments about the draft
The FPB published the draft on 4 February, 2022, and the public has 30 days to submit written comments.
According to the FPB, the deadline is 18 March 2022.
Mark your comments for the attention of Mr Pandelis Gregoriou.
The email address for comment submissions is firstname.lastname@example.org. You need to use the subject “Draft Classification Guidelines for the Classification of Films,
Games and Certain Publications”.
Meanwhile, if you want to send a letter by mail, the address is: The Film and Publication Board, Private Bag X31, Highveld Park, 0169.
You can also hand in your letter at this address: The Film and Publication Board, Eco Glade 2, 420 Witch Hazel Avenue, Centurion, 1609.
Feature image: Daniel Thomas/Unsplash