‘New Age' may be subjected to pre-publication censorship

The paper pulled out of the Press Ombudsman system after it was asked to respond to a complaint against it.

FILE: The New Age newspaper. Picture: Michelle Lubbe/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Press Council on Thursday said that the New Age newspaper may have to subject itself to pre-publication censorship by the Film and Publications Board (FPB) after it pulled out of the Press Ombudsman system.

The paper told the council it was pulling out of the system on Wednesday after it was asked to respond to a complaint against it by the Democratic Alliance.

But the FPB said it interpreted the law differently.

Press Council Executive Director Joe Thloloe said the New Age didn't have to submit copies to the film and publications board - only because it was part of the press ombudsman system.

"Publications that subscribes to the press council's quotes are exempt from certain sections of The Films and Publications Act, like free publication censorship. So they would then be subject to that."

But the board's Sipho Risiba says they don't have to submit copies before publishing them - so long as they don't contain sexual images or propaganda for war.

"They don't have to submit each time they wish to publish, provided that whatever they'll be publishing doesn't not have these elements."

He said this meant the board was now the regulator for the paper.