The controversial ‘internet censorship bill’ has been signed off – here’s all you need to know about the new laws

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

On Wednesday, October 2, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed off changes to The Film and Publications Amendment Bill – also known as the ‘internet censorship bill.’’

The new changes to the bill will include more stringent rules in place to protect children from harmful content and to regulate the online distribution of content such as films and games. While these changes may seem beneficial, some believe that the new bill will infringe on basic human rights. Speaking to BusinessTech in May 2019, Dominic Cull of specialised legal advice firm, Ellipsis, said that the bill is “extremely badly written” and that there is “definite potential for abuse in terms of infringement of free speech.”

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One of my big objections here is that if I upload something which someone else finds objectionable, and they think it is hate-speech, they will be able to complain to the FPB,” he said. Cull said that this problem as the FPB, which is appointed by the government, should not be making decisions as to what is and isn’t allowed speech under the South African Constitution.

Take a look at the main changes to The Film and Publications Amendment aka the Internet censorship bill below and read more on the latest local news right here.

Source | BusinessTech

Revenge porn: Under the bill, any person who knowingly distributes private sexual photographs and films without prior consent and with the intention to cause the said individual harm shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction. This includes a possible fine not exceeding R150,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years and/or to both a fine and imprisonment not exceeding two years. Where the individual is identified or identifiable in said photographs and films, this punishment rises to an R300,000 fine and/or imprisonment not exceeding four years;

Hate speech: The bill states that any person who knowingly distributes in any medium, including the internet and social media any film, game or publication which amounts to propaganda for war, incites imminent violence, or advocates hate speech, shall be guilty of an offence. This includes a possible fine not exceeding R150,000 and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years;

ISP requirements: If an internet access provider has knowledge that its services are being used for the hosting or distribution of child pornography, propaganda for war, incitement of imminent violence or advocating hatred based on an identifiable group characteristic it shall immediately remove this content, or be subject to a fine.
Some of the above changes have previously come under scrutiny from members of industry and the public, over concerns that it would be used as a means of censorship for online content.




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