The Film and Publication Board (FPB) extends its heartfelt thanks to the South African public, special interest groups, distributors and stakeholders in the film and gaming space for their inputs into the reviewed Classification Guidelines, which have now been gazetted.

These Classification Guidelines are an important step in implementing a ratings system that talks to the needs and values of society – not an easy task considering the diversity of our social landscape and varied consumer and commercial priorities. The rigorous review process is undertaken every 5 years.

“A set of guidelines that are well researched and debated provides a tool for the FPB to standardise and quality assure the ratings and advisories that it gives to films, games and certain publications. The guidelines are indeed one of our most important tools in carrying out our assigned duty to guide consumers and protect children from exposure to harmful material,” affirms FPB Chief Executive Officer, Dr Maria Motebang.

She further explains that the FPB believes that an inclusive approach produces the best results for the very reason that the classification decisions made need to balance the rights of all South Africa’s citizens. “An inclusive process might take us longer to complete, but we are confident that, having taken the discussion to all 9 Provinces of the country and having engaged with a wide stakeholder base, we can confidently implement the new guidelines,” Dr Motebang says.

The FPB process took a research-based approach to creating the initial discussion paper submitted for public input. This was informed by biennial convergence studies that sourced information from nearly 20 000 South Africans. Additionally, insights were gathered from legal developments in SA, technology changes in the ever-changing content dissemination space and child development theories.

The discussion paper was then subjected to a first discussion with the public. Inputs received were factored into draft Guidelines, which was again taken back to the public in 2018, culminating in the Guidelines submitted to the FPB Council and the Minister of Communications for approval. Inputs were received from close to 2000 individual South Africans as well as a host of businesses and interest groups during these two public discussion phases.

The public and stakeholders encouraged the FPB to: guard against adding additional classifiable elements that would overcomplicate the symbols used and make it harder for the public to remember; to reduce or simplify the age rating categories; to make blasphemy a mandatory category when assigning classifications and to include more definitions.

Some key changes to the revised Guidelines

  • Definitions inserted for “action”, “prejudice” and “realistic”. The definition for “prejudice” was aligned to the current definition in the Equality Act.
  • “Blasphemy” finds a more apt placement under the “Prejudice” (P) element. This element protects the right to human dignity of groups represented within South African society, for example based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, language, etc.
  • Including “Blasphemy” under Prejudice (P) makes it a mandatory consumer advisory that should be provided for by Classifiers.
  • Changes in definition of Prejudice to reflect current definition as contained in the Equality Act.
  • “7-9PG” and “10-12PG” were retained as they are relevant to entertainment and/or educational value.
  • Age category 10 removed as the impact levels are already factored in the 10 – 12 PG age category.

The revised Classification Guidelines, as well as the discussion paper used during the discussion of the review process, may be accessed via the Film and Publication Board website:
For more media interviews contact:
Mrs. Lynette Kamineth
Manager Communications and Public Education
Cell: 079 279 5331
Tel: 012 003 1400
Ms Manala Botolo
Assistant Manager Communications and Public Education
Cell: 082 860 6748
Tel: 012 003 1400

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