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Films and Publications Bill Tariff Structure on Track

March 20, 2017

Department of Communications

The proposed Films and Publications Amendment Bill tariff structure is awaiting approval by the Films and Publication Board Council.

The communications department recently revealed this during a briefing on feedback on the bill in parliament.

The bill was tabled in parliament in November 2015.

It seeks to:

• amend the Films and Publications Act of 1996 in order to insert and amend certain definitions;
• provide for the establishment of, the composition of, and appointment of, members of the Penalty Committee;
• provide for the powers and duties of the Penalty Committee;
• regulate online distribution of digital films and digital games;
• extend the functions of the Film and Publication Board to encompass monitoring compliance with the Films and Publications Act;
• include online distributors as having to comply with the Films and Publications Act;
• revise and further regulate the functions of compliance officers regarding the 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 independent industry classification bodies to be accredited by the Film and Publication Board;
• provide for classification of publications, films and games by the independent industry classification bodies;
• provide for foreign classification systems and approval thereof by the Film and Publication Board;
• provide for the use of classification ratings issued by a foreign 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 service providers to curb the use of their services in advocating racism and hate speech;
• revise and strengthen penal provisions; and
• provide for matters connected

In November 2016, the department indicated that certain amendments would be made to the bill following submissions from stakeholders.

Some of the amendments included a distinction made between commercial distributors and non-commercial distributors, the Penalty Committee renamed as the Enforcement Committee, the deletion of the definitions of “digital film” and “digital game” and the FPB will not require prior classification of any other publications.

During the briefing, the department stressed that the protection of children against harmful online/offline content is in the interest of society in general.

The department also indicated that, once the final tariff structure has been approved, consultations and workshops will take place with relevant stakeholders for input prior to placing the proposed tariffs before the minister for approval.