She says the most intrusive element of the amended legislation is that, under the guise of the “protection of children`s rights” the legislature has introduced a system of pre-publication censorship and self-censorship which offends against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Moore says the amendments forces a publisher who is not a “bona fide newspaper” recognised by the Press Ombudsman or any other person who wishes to distribute, broadcast or exhibit any film or game, to such to the Films and Publications Board (FPB) for approval prior to publication, distribution, broadcast or exhibition on pain of five years in prison or a fine or both if the material contains “sexual conduct which violates or shows disrespect for the right to human dignity of any person; degrades a person; constitutes incitement to cause harm; advocates propaganda for war; incites violence or advocates hatred based on any identifiable group characteristic and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.”
Moreover, amended Act provides that the FPB must ban any material which, in their view, contains child pornography, propaganda for war, incitement of imminent violence, the advocacy of hatred based on any identifiable group characteristic and that constitutes incitement to cause harm; explicit sexual conduct which violates disrespect for the right to human dignity of any person; bestiality, incest, rape or conduct or an act which is degrading of human beings; conduct or an act which constitutes incitement of or encourages or promotes harmful behaviour; explicit infliction of sexual or domestic violence; or explicit visual presentations of extreme violence.
“…it is not the prerogative of an organ of state to dictate to society what they may read, see, hear or do.”
Moore adds that the amended Film & Publication Act now effectively promotes unequal treatment before the law.
Moore further adds that the amended Act introduces a new offence into SA law, requiring that anyone who knows of, suspects or has reason to suspect, that an offence has been or is being committed under the provisions of the Act to furnish the police with a full report of such knowledge or suspicion, failing which such person shall be guilty of an offence.
“This potentially violates the rights to freedom of expression unjustifiably as it will force journalists to reveal their confidential sources of information related to the commission of an offence. This will undermine the media severely and would diminish the media’s ability to develop other sources and gather news.”
“The FXI cannot condone this insidious erosion of private liberties under the banner of the protection of interests whether they be the interests of children, religious interests or political affiliation.