South African government wants to regulate online comments

In a bid to “defeat the scourge of racism”, Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi wants to push ahead with plans to regulate online comments.

By - February 2, 2016 Share on LinkedIn
Computer internet censorship

Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi has said in a column for the Daily Maverick that she is committed to pushing new laws to extend the reach of the Film and Publication Board (FPB) to include online content.

The Film and Publications Amendment Bill and the FPB’s related draft online regulation policy have been widely criticised for impinging on citizens’ constitutional rights to freedom of expression.

In 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation called the FPB’s draft online regulation policy Africa’s worst new Internet censorship law.

Muthambi said that as the “custodian department for communications platforms in South Africa”, their conviction has become stronger that they did the right thing by tabling the amendment to the Films and Publications Act of 1996.

Among other things, she said, it will compel all online content distributors to ensure that their content is not offensive or in violation of the country’s laws.

“The eruption of racism at the beginning of this year serves as a great reminder of the power of the Internet and social media, and just how destructive that power can be in the wrong hands,” said Muthambi.

The recognition of the “maliciousness and vitriol found in many online platforms” has caused local and global publications to close their online comments sections, she said.

Muthambi said the Internet presents new and complex challenges for content classification.

“As policy makers, we need to respond appropriately to ensure that this medium is effectively regulated, in the same way that radio, television, and print media are compelled to abide by certain rules.”

Cabinet has already approved the submission of the amendment bill to Parliament, and Muthambi said the proposed changes are set to come up for discussion in February and March.

South African Internet censorship law will cost SA jobs and money: expert

Internet censorship bill for South Africa has been approved by cabinet

Scary new Internet censorship law for South Africa

Internet censorship bill for South Africa has been approved by cabinet

Worst ever Internet censorship law planned for South Africa

Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

Connect with Us



Did yesterday's DDoS attack against Dyn affect websites/online services you were using?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

Why tech giants are struggling to build driverless cars

Google self driving car

We may have just seen a major player in the drive towards autonomous cars apply screeching brakes.

The biggest mistakes you can make with your LinkedIn profile picture


Former LinkedIn employee Koka Sexton has provided insight into what makes a terrible profile picture for the professional networking site.

Netflix’s VPN clampdown didn’t hurt it

Netflix logo on screen

The over-analysis of Netflix’s recent financial reports were off the mark.

South Africa’s economy is going to take another knock

SA rand money

South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court will bring on more troubles for the country’s economy.

Free MyBroadband Newsletter