MPs to be briefed on draft online bill

Govt says the Films and Publications Amendment Bill will protect children from sexually explicit content.

Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament (MPs) will today be briefed on a draft law which regulates the distribution of videos and content online, including on social media networks.

Government said the Films and Publications Amendment Bill will protect children from sexually explicit content on the internet.

It will also prohibits the distribution of content that advocates hate speech and incites violence.

The bill is guided by policy, which has been critcised for seeking to curb internet freedoms.

The Right2Know Campaign's Micah Reddy said the draft online regulation policy is vague and amounts to censorship.

"The draft regulation is really about implementing a regime of prior restraint. This means that all distributors in the country will have to withhold their content and classify it before publishing."

He said the new bill provides a legislative framework to support the regulations.

"The bill appears to be a way of paving the road for these draft regulations that were gazetted in March."

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi will brief Parliament's Communications Portfolio Committee on the bill.