SAJBD in Parliament

Following on its written proposals submitted earlier this year, the Board gave an oral presentation on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications last week. Our National Director Wendy Kahn, assisted by Diplomatic Liaison Chaya Singer, made the presentation, which was well received by those present and also featured prominently in the subsequent media reports on the hearings. Primarily, our submission dealt with the pressing need for our media law to come to grips with the realities created by the electronic communications revolution, one of which is that anyone with a cell phone is effectively able to become his or her own publisher. Just as traditional media providers are regulated so should there be some order on how the Internet is used by members of the public. One of the most pressing problems we have come up against is dealing with threats and hate speech made against our community by people using false names or assuming other people’s identities. As Wendy stressed in her presentation, in order to prevent these abuses, law enforcement agencies need to be much more involved in efforts to confront cyberhate, and better equipped to work with the relevant Internet service providers in obtaining the information necessary to pursue such offenders .  

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