The Film and Publication Council Amendment Bill is not a sincere attempt to protect women and children, but rather an attempt to bring censorship back under the pretense of protection and to exercise control over the content of the Internet and therefore must be rejected.
This is the opinion of adv. Anton Alberts of FF Plus.
Adv. Alberts says this approach of control is symptomatic of the ANC-regime’s attitude of central control over every aspect of life.
“There is no doubt that harmful content should be kept away from children and the production and distribution should be stopped. However, there are more meaningful ways to do this, such as strengthening the police’s child protection unit to stop the production, distribution and possession of child pornography and other illegal content in the country.
“The FF Plus agrees that women and children must be protected in all spheres of society, and it is important that new technological platforms should be brought into line with this goal.
“However, the question is whether the ANC –regime can be trusted with any form of regulation with its daring human rights record. The question can only be answered by investigating the history and small print of the bill. There are many problems, but currently two red lights are flashing.
“The first is the bill’s terms that require prior approval of Internet content before it can be placed online. Not only is this mechanism clearly an unconstitutional form of censorship, but its scope is large and includes virtually any online content.
“It is clearly unconstitutional and is symptomatic of the ANC government’s contempt of the Constitution, which only changes when the opposition and the public oppose it. The ANC constantly tests the judgment of both the public and the Constitution.
“Another problem is that sensors apparently are not aware that Internet content can not really be regulated.
“Rules can be made for content loaded and distributed on South African servers, but nothing can be done with content from outside the borders outside of reporting to foreign authorities. Even then there is no certainty whether they will act.
“It is therefore a pity that one must be skeptical of the true intentions of the government regarding this bill. The interests of women and children were unlikely to be put forward when these mechanisms of censorship and control were created.
The original article can be found on Die Vryburger in Afrikaans.