Films and Publications Bill Returned to NA

Department of Communications

The Films and Publications Amendment Bill has been passed by the national council of provinces and returned to the national assembly for consideration of the proposed amendments.

The bill was tabled in parliament in November 2015.

It 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 is 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 “accompanied by explicit violence” is inserted into clauses 15 and 17.

Meanwhile, the iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill has been passed by the national assembly and sent to the national council of provinces for concurrence.

The bill was tabled in May 2018 as the iKamva National e-Skills Institute Bill. During deliberations, the title was amended to include reference to “digital skills”.

The iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill aims to:

•    provide for the promotion of the development and meaningful use of digital skills;
•    provide for the establishment of the iKamva Digital Skills Institute;
•    provide for the objects and functions of the Institute;
•    provide for the establishment and functions of collaborative laboratories for digital skills knowledge production, training and coordination;
•    provide for the governance and management arrangements of the Institute; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

The select committee on communications and public enterprises will process the bill.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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