The main redeeming feature of South African legislators is that even though they sometimes come up with really bad ideas, very few laws actually ever hit the statute books simply because parliamentary process takes so long the crushing ennui ladens down the President’s pen when it comes to signing an Act into force (see the Secrecy Bill, Cybersecurity, Copyright, Hate Speech, etc).
Sadly it seems those days may be over. Cyril Ramaphosa has put his mark on the Film and Publications Amendment Act, which was so badly written when it first appeared five years ago that it would have required teenagers to certify content with the FPB before posting to Instagram. Some elements of the new Act are worthy – like the criminalisation of revenge porn. But the overall effect is that it gives the FPB a powerful new tool to issue takedown notices for local content creators, in effect becoming our new local internet censor. Largely justified because “somebody has to think of the children” and “ban this sick filth”, it’s time to go ipsos custodes on their ass.
(Image – GCIS)