This is the message we will send in your name to protest against this Draft Policy:
To the Film and Publication Board for the attention of Mrs Thoko Mpumlwana:
I completely object to the Draft Online Regulation Policy developed under Section 4A of the Film and Publications Act, 61 of 1996, as amended.
As an individual who is entirely in favour of the protection of children and I am entirely against the production and distribution of child pornography. However, I disagree that this new policy will help to stop the production or distribution of child pornography. I also disagree that this will limit the access that children may have to online pornography.
By placing obstacles in the way of people who create content, this policy will stifle free speech. By demanding that platform owners take down content deemed objectionable, this leaves the FPB open to political abuses that could censor content that is in the public interest. In addition to this, these platforms already have mechanisms in place in order to complain about content that is inappropriate for children.
This policy is also set to immediately and deeply harm the South African economy and many businesses and industries that rely on the open competitive landscape that the internet provides by placing additional financial and administrative burdens on individuals and businesses that wish to contribute content online.
I also believe that the process of dealing with the types of illegal content that might be posted online is already addressed by other laws that already exist. The consequences of producting child pornography is very clear: whether it is distributed through printed form, through a digital platform, or even if it is not distributed at all, the people involved are criminals and are dealt with as such.
The task of classifying and regulating the entire internet is also entirely untenable. Not with a billion Rand would you be able to set up a team of people to achieve this. Consider for a moment that throughout 2014, for every minute that passed by, there were 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube alone. At that rate the FPB would need to employ 4320 people who do not eat, sleep or take a break in order to cover all of the content on this one platform alone. It would be much more effective if the FPB followed their mandate to inform the South African public by educating them on what the dangers are regarding the types of content that is accessible on the internet.
The access that I have to platforms and services are also in danger because of this policy. By making it more difficult for these platforms and services to operate in South Africa, they will be discouraged from providing their offering to our country, denying us the opportunity to develop and innovate on ideas that could contribute positively to society.
My wish is for the Draft Online Policy developed under Section 4A of the Film and Publication Act, 61 of 1996, as amended to be scrapped completely.