The regulation of in-flight films

Quinot, G. (2005)



In South Africa, as in many other jurisdictions, the showing of films in public is legally regulated through a system of classification. This system entails that a film must first be classified by the Film and Publication Board in terms of the Film and Publication Act 65 of 1996 before it may be screened in public and then only subject to the restrictions imposed under the classification. Non-compliance with such restrictions is a crime. One of the main aims of this regulatory system is the protection of children against harmful materials. The screening of films on aeroplanes is today an integral part of any long-haul flight, especially internationally. Since (young) children are often passengers on such flights, the question emerges whether the regulatory approach to film classification also applies to in-flight films. In this article the interaction between film regulation and aviation regulation is assessed where they intersect at the regulation of in-flight films. The conclusion is that there is a regulatory gap where these two sets of regulations meet, with a resultant unregulated activity within otherwise highly regulated contexts, i.e. film and aviation. A number of policy considerations in favour of greater regulation of in-flight film are assessed and potential ways in which such regulation can be implemented proposed.

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