ARE THE FPB’S CLASSIFICATION GUIDELINES STILL REFLECTIVE OF SOCIETAL NORMS AND VALUES OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN PUBLIC?                                                                                                

Johannesburg, 17 August 2017– The Film and Publication Board (FPB) is undertaking a process of reviewing its current Classification Guidelines to measure whether they are still reflective of South Africa’s societal norms and values.  A stakeholder and media dialogue will be hosted at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Center on the 23rd August 2017, under the theme “Sexual Violence and its prevalence in the media”.  The dialogue will be focusing on how exposure to violence, sex and sexual violence in the media impacts on societal norms and values.

“South Africa is rated amongst the worst societies when it comes to violence against women and children.  As part of commemorating women’s month, the FPB wants to focus on sexual violence in the media through assessing the prevalence of gender stereotypes and gender based violence in the media,” says Abongile Mashele, FPB’s Acting Chief Operations Officer.

She further states that violence against women does not end with physical violence; other forms of violence including emotional and psychological violence have no visible scars but have long effects on victims and survivors.  These can be worsened through constant exposure to similar themes in the media through film and other forms of entertainment media. Furthermore, constant exposure can lead to children being desensitized and normalizing such behavior.

The FPB has partnered with Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) for the dialogues.  The partnership stems from the previous classification guidelines review process which introduced the classifiable element of “Sexual Violence (SV)”.  The SV classifiable element warns consumers in advance that the content has sexual violence scenes such as rape and physical violence.

The dialogues seeks to kick start the process of reviewing the current Classification Guidelines.   Previously, the classification guidelines were reviewed every two years and where there were legal amendments it was revised as deemed necessary. However, the Council of the FPB took the view that norms, values and tolerance levels do not change rapidly over two years.  A five year review period was introduced to take into consideration long term changes in cultural norms and values.


Issued by:

Mr. Sipho Mkhwanazi

Digital Content Coordinator

083 573 2543 


Ms. Manala Botolo

Acting Manager Communications and Public Education

082 860 6748

Notes to the Editor

The current classification guidelines were last reviewed in 2012 and subsequently published in October 2014 and have been applied since.

The purpose of the Film and Publication Board (“FPB”) is to inter alia provide consumer advice to enable adults to make informed viewing, reading and gaming choices for both themselves and the children in their care. Furthermore, the FPB is mandated to protect children from exposure to disturbing and harmful materials and from premature exposure to adult experiences.

To this end, the FPB classifies films, interactive computer games and certain publications using the classification guidelines as approved by the Council of the FPB in consultation with the Minister of Communications (“Minister”) pursuant to the provisions of section 4A(1)(a) of the Films and Publications Act 65 of 1996, as amended (“FP Act or the Act”).


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