You’ve got until Monday to comment on South Africa’s Orwellian online future

The Films and Publications Amendment Act 11 of 2019 (FPAA) was already passed by Parliament and signed by the President, but there’s still time to comment on the amended regulations before it becomes an actual thing.

Now, the amendments are trying to do some good, like criminalising revenge porn, but there are a couple of other things that may be included in our dystopian future:

Your social media posts, actually anything you post, be it streaming, blogging, or pictures of your cat, technically, need to be classified before they can be distributed online, because, technically, we’re all online distributors under the amended Act and have to register with the FPB as such. How does livestreaming even work under these new regulations? No idea.

Also, technically, if you publish something online, without being registered or getting it classified, you could face a fine and serious jail time.

And, if you make games, be sure that they include “mechanisms to remove the bars or impediments preventing players graduating to more advanced levels or advancing further” (Part 3, 11.4) or be prepared to explain yourself. What does that even mean? Can we legally complain about a game being too hard?

This is one of those times where fears over censorship and freedom of speech violations are actually legitimate, because, with these regulations, any Karen can decide your Facebook discussions about the legit hotness of the animated Robin Hood are morally objectionable, and report you to the FPB i.e. the government.

This really shouldn’t make it past the Constitutional Court, but submit your comments to the Film and Publication Board via email at clientsupport with “draft Film and Publication Regulations” in the subject line before 3 August 2020.

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