3 October 2019
President Ramaphosa has assented to the Films and Publications Amendment Bill.
Parliament passed the bill and sent it for assent in March 2019.
The national council of provinces introduced amendments to the bill and returned it to the national assembly in December 2018 for consideration of the proposed amendments.
The bill was tabled in parliament in November 2015.
The Films and Publications Amendment Act, published in Government Gazette 42743, aims to:
• amend the Films and Publications Act, 1996, so as to insert and amend certain definitions;
• provide for the establishment, composition and appointment of members of the Enforcement Committee;
• provide for the powers and duties of the Enforcement Committee;
• regulate online distribution of films and games;
• extend the compliance obligations of the Films and Publications Act and the compliance and monitoring functions of the Film and Publication Board to online distributors;
• revise and further regulate the functions of compliance officers regarding entering and inspection of premises and facilities in which the business of the sale, hire or exhibition of films or games is being conducted;
• further regulate the classification of publications, films and games;
• provide for accreditation of independent commercial online distributors by the Film and Publication Board;
• provide for classification of publications, films and games by the independent industry classification bodies;
• provide for foreign and international classification systems and approval thereof by the Film and Publication Board;
• provide for the use of classification ratings issued by a foreign and international classification authority or body;
• provide for the right of appeal against classifications issued by independent industry classification bodies;
• provide for exemptions in respect of online distribution of films and games;
• further provide for the obligations of internet access providers regarding curbing the use of their services in propagating prohibited content;
• revise and strengthen penal provisions; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.
During its deliberations, the select committee on communications and public enterprises inserted a new clause amending section 13 of the principal act.
A new subsection 1A was proposed stipulating that “all monies lawfully acquired by the Board in the performance of its functions must be utilised to achieve the objects of this Act.”
The term “explicit sexual conduct” was inserted into clauses 15 and 17.
The act will come into effect on a date still to be determined by the president.