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Responses Provided on Films and Publications Amendment Bill

November 25, 2016

Department of Communications

The communications department has briefed parliament on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill.

The bill was tabled in parliament in November 2015.

Following meetings with relevant stakeholders, the department has outlined responses to input from stakeholders on the bill.

In the briefing, the department made it known that it will make the necessary amendments to the bill.

Some of the amendments include:

• Distinction made between commercial distributors and non-commercial distributors;
• The FPB will not require prior classification of any other publications, but may post classification of an offensive publication upon being requested to do so by a member of the public;
• The Penalty Committee has been renamed as the Enforcement Committee and will be appointed and removed by the Council of the Films and Publications Board on the grounds outlined in the bill;
• The definitions of “digital film” and “digital game” have been deleted as the provisions relating to online distribution adequately address the objectives of the Bill in this regard;
• The purpose is to protect publishers of documentaries that are of scientific and artistic merit; and
• Self-regulation is catered for in respect of news and publications in the public interest. The Press Council is recognized and exemption granted while the bill has been revised to ensure that it is technology-neutral in line with international trends.

The portfolio committee on communications will continue to deliberate on the bill.

Meanwhile, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa has published amendments to the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations in Notice 781 in Government Gazette 40436.

This includes amendments to:

• Radio frequency spectrum licence transfer application;
• Radio reception blocking devices;
• The use of the E-Band; and
• Promotion of competition and interests of consumers.

The amendments came into force on 22 November 2016.