The Film and Publication Board (FPB) is a regulatory body whose mandate is to protect the nation’s citizens. This is done by restricting and censoring harmful, destructive and inappropriate content especially for minors. This content could be in the form of movies, games, magazines and any other media for public use. They help to put age restrictions on media as well as to enforce that it does not get consumed by underage consumers.
With the rise of digital and faster internet speeds, more people are consuming the media online rather than traditional methods like print, television and radio. What makes it even scarier is that kids nowadays have access to mobile devices even before teenager-hood. This gives them easy access to potentially harmful content. FPB has intensified it’s focus on a safer internet for all but focusing on children as the most vulnerable to harmful content.
Together with Safer Schools, the FPB run an online awareness initiative called Safer Internet South Africa. This is a digital literacy programme that aims at creating a safer media experience for South Africans. It does not necessary criminalize the internet but also helps people to reach their full potential in the digital world. This is achieved whilst teaching them how to avoid the ‘not so good’ elements that sometimes plague the web. These elements can be cyber-bullies, sexual predators, child pornography producers and even violent, inappropriate video games. The internet is a border-less country that has no regulations as to what people post across the world but countries themselves have the power to restrict harmful content and maintain their social and cultural values. That is what the FPB stands for.
Apart from the Safer Internet South Africa Initiative, they have also been doing a sterling job by creating an internet hotline to prevent the degrading and perverted distribution of child pornography (child sexual abuse images) when detected through the internet. This is done through another website FPB Prochild. The internet hotline will also forward a detailed report relating to child pornography to the law enforcement agencies within the country for prosecution. FPB’s international networking and imminent partnership with INHOPE allows it to act against child pornography (child sexual abuse images) on the internet hosted outside South Africa. These international networks will then pass reports to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
The website is also intended to alert Internet Service Providers of the criminal activities, relating to child pornography and or sexual abuse images used /hosted on their servers or distributed through their infrastructure. The hotline will be available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to enable members of the public to immediately report discovered child pornography (child sexual abuse images). All reports will be acknowledged, processed and appropriate feedback will be provided. The hotline number which is 0800 148 148, is simple to remember and hopefully will ring in the minds of every responsible citizen in South Africa. The Film and Publishing Board has also been spearheading the Safer Internet Day celebrations in South Africa, which were held on the 7th of February this year under the theme “Be the change. Unite for a better Internet.”, as well as being part of the Web Rangers digital literacy programme.