Government in South Africa to reveal new regulation for YouTube and Netflix

South Africa’s communications minister, Ayanda Dlodlo has confirmed that the government is set to reveal new regulations for Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services. Dlodlo said during a briefing that she is planning to present a draft white paper on Digital Content and Audio-Visual Policy for South Africa to cabinet for approval before publishing it for public comments.

Ayanda Dlodlo said “The current (draft white paper) revises the Broadcasting Act 1999 to respond to the new challenges, the overall way of thinking that is inevitably changing and comprises of a determining step by government to reflect and respond to the changes drawn on by connection over broadband networks.”

The white paper will update the broadcasting policy according to the minister. This will help promote South African content and create a fairer environment for traditional broacasters, video-on-demand providers and video-sharing platforms, promotion of diversity of voices in the media, nation building and new proposition to protect children, minors etc. The last one would be to limit availability and ability to tackle on/off line harmful and other illegal content in a better way. 

Ayanda Dlodlo said, she will continue to pressurize the Film and Publications Board (FPB) to protect consumers hazardous online content. She said, “The role of the FPB has previously been distinct as distribution of content that fell within the jurisdiction of FPB was easily identifiable,” she said. “Films were either distributed via VHS, DVD and in cinema, while publications were in your pre-packaged magazines and books.” 

Dlodlo added, “With developments in technology however, much of the content has moved to online streaming or digital platforms. This has left a significant gap in the market. Consumers, and particularly children, now can access content that has not been appropriately classified and labelled.”