12 October 2016, Pretoria. The University of South Africa’s (Unisa) College of Law (CLAW) and Bureau of Market Research (BMR), in partnership with the Film and Publication Board (FPB), today launched a Classification of Media Content programme to professionalise content classification in South Africa and within the African continent. The programme focuses on the theoretical and practical components of media content classification in South Africa.

Unisa is Africa’s leading open distance learning institution that offers internationally accredited qualifications and has word-class resources in distance learning. Given its rootedness in South Africa and the African continent, Unisa can truly claim to be the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity. The university offers an unparalleled range of study choices, to over 300 000 current students, ranging from short courses and certificate programmes to three-and four-year degrees and diplomas. As one of the leading research institutions on the continent, Unisa has received numerous awards, recognitions and honours.

The CLAW’s vision is to be “The African College of Law shaping futures in the service of humanity,” thereby aligning itself with the University vision and strategy. As part of this vision, CLAW ensures that its content is relevant, sustainable and impactful. It is thus unsurprising that CLAW has undertaken to implement and sustain this programme enriched with content which is relevant both nationally and regionally. Professor Rushiella Songca, the Executive Dean of CLAW, remarked that the programme “…is perfectly aligned with CLAW’S pedagogical approach…” which “… is value-generative and transformative in its content and reach within Africa and the African diaspora. Part of this value-generative ethos is the protection of future generations – in this case, children. CLAW is however aware that the magnitude of this aim cannot be pursued individually and we place a premium on partnering and collaborating for social change and justice.”

Thus, CLAW, in partnership with BMR and FPB, has formalised a programme on content classification. This programme will consolidate the creation of awareness regarding the implications of harmful media content. The short learning programme is constructed not only to inculcate skills in professional classification but also to generate knowledge consciousness in the area of children’s rights.

In addition, “The course is targeted at existing content classifiers wishing to update their skills and also targets anyone who has an interest in content classification within the industry, which includes internet streaming companies, movie distributors and broadcasters who also conduct self-classification. This is in line with the co-regulatory approach the FPB is moving towards as outlined in our Online Regulation Policy,” says Mr Themba P. Wakashe, Chief Executive Officer at FPB.

The FPB aims to ensure efficient and effective consumer protection through regulation of media content, while empowering the public – especially children – through robust information sharing. In addition, the FPB classifies content while maintaining relevance to the values and norms of South African society by conducting scientific research, balancing the right to freedom of expression with an obligation to protect children from exposure to
potentially disturbing, harmful and inappropriate materials. Furthermore, the FPB aims to protect children from sexual exploitation in media content, and to educate the broader South African society to make informed choices about the content they consume. The FPB was established through the Films and Publications Act no 65 of 1996, amended in 2009.

The duration of the programme is 12 months and is composed of the following eight modules:
Module 1 – Introduction to selected aspects of South African law;
Module 2 – The rights of a child;
Module 3 – The Film and Publication Board – nature, scope and purpose;
Module 4 – Child development: cognitive, emotional and social and the protection of children;
Module 5 – Cinematography, the power of film and classification;
Module 6 – Gaming and elements of new media;
Module 7 – Diverse issues related to classification; and
Module 8 – Applied classification: work integrated learning.

Ends

Issued by:

Prof. R. Songca
Executive Dean
College of Law
University of South Africa
Email: songcr@unisa.ac.za
(012) 429-8350

Prof. D.H. Tustin
Bureau of Market Research
College of Economic and Management Sciences
University of South Africa
Email: tustidh@unisa.ac.za
(012) 429-3156

Direct media enquiries to:
Janine Raftopoulos
Manager: Communications and Public Education
Email: janine.raftopoulos@fpb.org.za
Cell: 071 444 3121
Tel: 011 003 1400

CLAW Academic Co-ordinator:
Prof. Michelle Karels
Department of Criminal and Procedural Law
College of Law
University of South Africa
Email: karelmg@unisa.ac.za
(012) 429-8350

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