Draft online policy not plagiarised - FPB

Johannesburg - The Film and Publication Board (FPB) denied a claim on Friday that it plagiarised its draft online regulation policy from Australian documents.

When asked about parts of it being word for word the same as Australia's policy, chief operations officer Sipho Risiba said the FPB intentionally used models it believed appropriate for South Africa.

"We looked at other counties such as the UK, Brazil, the United States and Australia." He said the FPB found the Australian and Brazilian models were most appropriate for South Africa.

"Also our legislation, within the FPB Act, it also merits on the Australian classification model. We have always worked closely with Australia. [It's] one of the things that we looked [at]. We commissioned our own study. We've looked elsewhere at the countries and that would explain why the two sections are similar."

According to the policy, first released at the beginning of March, its purpose is to ensure that classification and compliance monitoring focuses on media content rather than on platforms or delivery technologies. 

In February 2012 the Australian government's law reform commission published a final report on classification, content regulation and convergent media. 

Page 23 of the Australian policy's executive summary has a section titled: "The context of media convergence". There are eight bullet points dealing with "developments associated with media convergence" and a contributory explanation about "piecemeal regulatory responses" to changes in technologies, markets and consumer behaviour at the bottom of the list.

On page 8 of the FPB regulations, it lists the same information in six points instead of eight, including the "piecemeal" explanation in one of the six points, under the same heading.

On page 24 of the Australian policy, it has a section titled "Guiding principles for for reform". Page 9 of the FPB's policy has a section titled "Guiding principles for an online content regulation policy". Both policies list the same eight principles. 

Public consultations for the FPB's draft online policy began in Johannesburg on Thursday.

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