1. What is the purpose of the amendment Bill?
The purpose of the Bill is to address shortcomings in the current legislation particularly regarding regulation of online distribution of content in order to align the Act with other legislation as well as international best-practice.
Importantly, the Bill also seeks a co-regulation regime for classification and labeling on content distributed online.
2. Why is the Act being amended?
Media convergence has rendered to the current legislation impractical due to the volume of content distributed online.
Enforcement of the current legislation is cumbersome as it requires criminal proceedings to be instituted against non-compliant distributors and the criminal justice system is inundated as it is.
3. What sections are being amended?
Various sections are being amended and other sections being added such as establishment of a penalty committee to address matters of non-compliance, accreditation of foreign classification systems, provisions for co-regulation just to name a few.
4. How does FPB intend on enforcing compliance of the Bill?
Through the Penalty Committee and working together with law enforcement.
5. Do we have jurisdiction to regulate the online space?
Yes we do to the extent that the content in question constitutes a film, game or publication as defined in the Act. The Act does not prescribe the specific distribution platforms which are subject to the regulatory authority of the FPB.
6. How do we plan to regulate content that come from outside our boarders?
Through our own compliance monitoring activities as well as working closer with industry.
7. What’s the status on the drafted Online Regulation Policy?
The Policy has been revised in light of the inputs received from the public. The policy will then be presented for approval from the Council and Cabinet.
8. Is this not another form of censorship?
It’s regulation of content which entails balancing the right to freedom of expression against the right of access to information, the right to dignity, the right to privacy as well as the rights of children.
9. Is content regulation necessary for our society and what events warrant content to be regulated today more than ever?
The public has a right to be informed of the media content available for consumption in order for them to make the informed viewing, gaming and reading choices for both themselves and the children in their care. Furthermore, children must be protected from harmful and age-inappropriate material irrespective of the mode of distribution thereof.
10. What about user generated online content developed for example that is uploaded by the general public. Are you also looking at regulating this too, and if so how do you plan on doing this given there is so much of it?
In general the FPB does not aim to regulate user generated content (“UGC”) provided that it does not contain any prohibited content such as but not limited to hate speech, propaganda for war of child pornography. The FPB will intervene in instances of public complaints or through content it comes across through its own compliance monitoring activities.
11. What would be the fine or jail term for defaulters?
The fine or jail term differs for each offence and will increase depending on the severity of the particular offence.
12. Will people need to have a license to upload content or is it for industry only, and if so how much and how have you arrived at the amounts you will charge.
The license will be required for commercial online distributors such as your video-on-demand distributors.
13. Is the act being amended to accommodate the Online Regulation Policy?
No, the act is being amended to address various shortcomings in the current legislation.