Did any of the reasons provided by the Appeal Tribunal to justify its decision to reclassify the movie Inxeba as hardcore porn make any legal sense? Let’s unpack.
 Last week the Appeal Tribunal of the Film and Publication Board (FPB) finally published its reasons for reclassifiying the movie Inxeba (The Wound) as X18.

An X18 classification means that the movie was found to be hardcore pornography and may only be shown in licensed premises where other pornography is shown or sold. Previously the movie was classified as not being suitable to be viewed by persons under the age of 16. The distributors have rightly launched an urgent application to have the decision reviewed and set aside by a court because the decision is clearly not based on any valid legal considerations.

An embarrassing legal fiasco animated by bias and homophobia; as if a first-year drama student had attempted to write a paper to be published in a journal on nuclear physics. An incompetent and incoherent mish-mash of words in search of an argument; a procedural calamity. It is not difficult to mock the unintelligible decision by the FPB Appeal Tribunal to classify Inxeba (The Wound) as hardcore pornography.

But let me rather take a deep breath and take a step back. Let me examine the reasons provided by the Appeal Tribunal to try to establish whether the decision makes any legal sense.

To do so, it was necessary to study the Film And Publications Act (and its guidelines) as well as the founding affidavit of the distributors who lodged an urgent review of the decision. I also watched the movie before it was banished from cinemas. Read more