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The South Africa Film & Publication Board last week released a draft policy which outlines its recently mooted plans to regulate online publications. The full document – available here – claims responsibility for online publishing as the prerogative of the FPB, which typically classifies movies, due to “media convergence” which has “fundamentally transformed the way media content is distributed and consumed”. It applies to “online distributors of digital films, games, and certain publications, whether locally or internationally”. Online publications covered by the rules will be obliged to pay a fee to the FPB, which will then vet material published: “Where it is convenient and practical to do so, the Board may dispatch classifiers to the distributors’ premises for the purposes of classifying digital content.” That seems to apply to anyone who publishes videogame source code, a YouTube video (YouTube is specifically mentioned in the regulations) or a blog. Publishers will also be able to self-classify their work under certain terms. User generated content will also be governed by the rules, with publishers liable for offensive or illegal material uploaded by readers/users. One major problem – besides criminalising YouTube – is that “certain publications” aren’t actually defined in the regulations, so they could apply to any news or website – so while it may be that the regulations are aimed at bringing streaming TV services inline with traditional broadcast TV, the wording could include any blog, news site or Facebook page run out of South Africa.
originally posted by: halfoldman
For the moment this appears very concerning, and I wonder if this has been done in anyone's country, or how they would feel if their state proposed something like this?