On- Demand Guidlines






The National Association of Broadcasters (“the NAB”) is a voluntary association of South African broadcasters, comprising licensed radio and television broadcasters, as well as entities and associates that operate in the sector.


NAB members provide broadcasting services to the public. Some NAB members also provide on-demand content services.


NAB members are concerned with the protection of users of their on-demand content services and have therefore developed these guidelines to assist the public. The guidelines are intended to cover on-demand content services under the editorial control of NAB members. Where appropriate, the Guidelines have been informed by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) Code of Conduct for Broadcasters.


The NAB is introducing these guidelines on a pilot basis to assess their feasibility and to consider the effectiveness of the complaints handling process for on-demand content services.





  1. Definitions


Inthese Guidelines,unlessthecontextindicatesotherwise,awordorexpressionto whichameaninghasbeenassignedintheActhasthemeaningsoassigned.


Act” meanstheElectronic CommunicationsAct36of2005, as amended;


childpornography”means child pornography as defined in section 1 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act 32 of 2007);


child” meansapersonundertheageof18years, and childrenshall have the same meaning;


“EPG” means Electronic Programme Guide;


“Films and Publications Act”means the Film and Publications Act 65 of 1996, as amended;


ICASAAct”meanstheIndependentCommunicationsAuthorityofSouthAfrica Act13of2000, as amended;


“NAB” means the National Association of Broadcasters;


NAB Member / Member” meansa member of the NAB who pays an annual membership fee;


“Signatory” (Signatories) is a NAB member who has elected to abide by the Guidelines;


“On-demand content service” means a service provided by a signatory, under the signatory’s editorial control,

  • which is provided utilizing electronic communications,
  • which has the primary purpose of providing audio and /or video content and which has similar characteristics to traditional broadcasting,
  • which is provided to the public or sections of the public, and
  • which is delivered on an on-demand basis meaning the user decides when to access the content and the content is available only when selected by the user.

Examples of on-demand content services may include streaming radio services delivered via the internet, catch-up services (delivered via television platforms, websites or online media players) and television programme archive services.



(a)       [male]genitals in a state of arousal or stimulation, real or simulated";

(b)       undue display of genitals or of the anal region;

(c)       rape;

(d)       masturbation;

(e)     bestiality;

(f)      sexual intercourse[whether real or unintended]with a person or a human corpse, including anal or oral sexual intercourse;

(g)     sexual contact involving the direct or indirect fondling or touching of the intimate parts of a body, including the breasts, anus, vagina, testicles or penis, with or without any object;

(h)     the penetration of a vagina or anus with any object;

(i)      oral genital contact; or

(j)      oral anal contact.


 “user”means a person utilizing the on-demand content service.


  1. ViolenceandHatespeech


2.1    The Signatory mustnotmake available on-demand content which,judged withincontext,sanctions,promotesor glamorizesviolenceorunlawful conductbasedonrace,nationalorethnicorigin,colour,religion,gender, sexual orientation,age,or mental orphysical disability.


2.2    The Signatorymustnotmake available on-demand content which,judged withincontext,amountsto(a) propagandaforwar;(b)incitementof imminentviolence; or(c)theadvocacyofhatred thatisbased onrace,ethnicity,religionor gender andthatconstitutes incitementtocauseharm.


  1. Exclusions


Clause2 doesnotapplyto:


3.1)  On-demand content which,judgedwithincontext,amountstobonafidescientific,documentary,dramatic,artistic,or religious content.


3.2)  On-demand content whichamountstoadiscussion,argumentoropinionon a matter pertainingtoreligion,beliefor conscience;or


3.3)On-demand content whichamountstoabonafidediscussion,argumentoropinion onamatterofpublic interest.


  1. Children


4.1  The Signatory mustexercise particular caution,as providedbelow,inthedepictionofviolenceinon-demand content specifically directed at children.


4.2    On-demandcontent specifically directed at children and containing real-lifecharacters,violencemay,whether physical, verbal or  emotional,  only  be portrayed  when  it  is essential tothedevelopmentofacharacterandplot.


4.3    Animatedon-demandcontent forchildren,whileacceptedasastylisedformof story-tellingwhichmay containnon-realisticviolence,must nothaveviolenceas itscentraltheme,andmustnotincitedangerousimitation.


4.4    On-demand content specifically directed at childrenmustwithreasonablecaredealwiththemesthat couldthreatentheir senseofsecuritywhenportraying,forexample,domestic conflict,death,crimeor theuseofdrugs or alcohol.


4.5    On-demand content specifically directed at children mustwithreasonablecaredealwith themeswhichcouldinfluencechildrentoimitateactswhichthey seeonscreenor hearabout,suchas theuseofplastic bags as toys,theuseof matchesor theuseofdangeroushouseholdobjectsas toys.


4.6    On-demand content specifically directed at childrenmustnotcontainrealisticscenesofviolencewhichcreatetheimpressionthatviolenceisthepreferredoronlymethodto resolveconflictbetweenindividuals.


4.7    On-demand content specifically directed at childrenmustnotcontainrealisticscenesofviolencewhichminimiseorglossovertheeffectofviolentacts.Any realistic depictionsofviolencemustportray,inhumanterms,theconsequencesof thatviolencetoitsvictims anditsperpetrators.


4.8    On-demand content specifically directed atchildrenmust not contain frightening orotherwiseexcessivespecialeffectsnotrequiredbythestoryline.


4.9    Offensivelanguage,includingprofanityandotherreligiously insensitive material,mustnotbeincluded in content specially designedfor children.


  1. SexualConduct


  • The Signatorymustnotmake on-demand content available which,judgedwithincontext,containsasceneorscenes,simulatedorreal,ofanyofthe following:




(c)sexual conductwhichdegrades apersoninthesensethat itadvocatesa particularformofhatredbasedongender andwhichconstitutes incitementtocauseharm or which violates the right to human dignity of any person;

(d)explicit sexual conduct;

(e)explicitextremeviolenceor theexplicit effectsthereof;or

(f)explicit inflictionofdomestic violence.


  • Sub-clause  5(1)   shall   not   be   applicable  to  bona   fide   scientific,documentary,dramaticorartisticmaterialwhich,judgedwithincontext,is ofsuchanatu


  1. UserAdvisories


6.1    Where on-demand content contains violence, sex,nudityand/oroffensivelanguage the Signatorymust,where possible, provideadvisoryassistanceincluding,whenapplicable, guidelinesas toage.The advisory may be a prior audio or visual warning, an advisory on the EPG listing, or a warning within the content itself.


6.2    Thefollowingadvisoryagesystemmaybeused:10,13,16and18. Thefollowingsymbolsmay beusedin accordancewiththerelevant on-demand content:V (violence),L (language),N(nudity),S (sex),PG (Parental Guidance), D (drugs/substance abuse), SV (sexual violence).


  1. Classification byFilmsand PublicationsBoard


  • WhereaFilmsandPublicationsBoardclassificationforafilmexistsin termsoftheFilmsandPublicationAct,suchclassificationmaybe usedasaguidelineforanadvisorytothefilm.


  • No film which is refused classification or whichcarries anXX classificationinterms ofthe Filmsand Publications Act may be provided.


  1. News


  • News mustbe reportedtruthfully,accuratelyand fairly.


              8.2    News must bepresented in the correct context and in afairmanner,withoutintentionalor negligentdeparturefromthefacts,whetherby:


(a)         Distortion,exaggerationormisrepresentation;

(b)         Material omissions;or

(c)         Summarisation.


8.3    Onlythatwhichmayreasonablybetrue,havingreasonableregardtothe sourceofthenews,maybepresentedas fact,andsuchfactmustbe statedfairly withreasonableregardtocontextandimportance.


  • Whereareportisnot basedon factorisfoundedonopinion,supposition, rumoursorallegations,itmustbepresentedinsuchmanneras toindicate, clearlythatsuchisthecase.


  • Wherethereis reasontodoubtthecorrectnessofthereport anditis practicabletoverify thecorrectness thereof,itmustbeverified.Wheresuchverificationisnotpracticable,thatfactmustbementionedintherepo


  • Whereitsubsequentlyappearsthatareportwasincorrectina materialrespect,it mustberectifiedforthwith,withoutreservationordelay. Therectificationmust bepresentedwithsuchadegreeofprominenceand timingasinthecircumstancesmaybeadequateandfairsoastoreadilyattractattention.


  • Theidentityof rapevictimsandothervictimsof sexual violencemustnotbedivulged,whetheraspart ofnewsornot,without theprior validconsentofthevictimconcerned.


  1. Comment


  • Signatoriesareentitledtomake available in their on-demand content, commentonand criticismofanyactionsor eventsofpublic importance.


  • Comment must bean honestexpressionof opinion and must bepresentedinsucha manner thatitappears clearlytobecomment,andmustbemadeonfactstrulystatedorfairlyindicatedandreferredto.


  • Whereapersonhasstatedthatheorsheisnotavailableforcommentor suchapersoncouldnotreasonablybereached,thismustbestate


  1. ControversialIssuesofPublicImportance


  • In making available on-demand content in which a controversial issue ofpublic importanceis discussed,asignatorymustmakereasonableeffortsto fairly presentopposingpointsofview eitherinthesameon-demand content or in other, related on-demand content.


  • Apersonwhoseviewsaretobecriticisedinon-demand content concerning acontroversial issueofpublic importancemustbegiventherighttoreplyto suchcriticism in the same or in related on-demand content.


  1. Privacy,DignityandReputation


  • The Signatory must exercise exceptional care and consideration in mattersinvolving theprivacy,dignityandreputation of individuals,bearinginmindthatthesaidrightsmay beoverriddenby a legitimatepublic intere


  • Intheprotectionofprivacy,dignityandreputationspecialweightmustbe affordedtoSouthAfricanculturalcustoms concerningtheprivacyand dignityofpeoplewhoarebereavedandtheirrespectforthosewhohave passedaway.


  • Intheprotectionofprivacy,dignityandreputationspecialweightmustbe affordedtotheprivacy,dignityandreputationofchildren,theagedandthe physicallyandmentallydisabled.





  1. The Guidelines will come into effect on 1 October 2017.


  1. The Guidelines will initially be in operation for one year from the date specified by the NAB, where after the Guidelines and Procedure may be reviewed by the NAB. Should the NAB decide that no review is necessary, then the Guidelines and Procedure may be extended to a later date or may be extended indefinitely.


  1. Notwithstanding the review provided for in paragraph 2, the NAB may amend the Guidelines and Procedure at any time, and must notify members immediately in the event such amendments are made.


  1. The Guidelines are entirely voluntary and it is within the sole discretion of NAB Members whether they wish to apply the Guidelines.


  1. All Signatories that have agreed to be bound by the Guidelines (the “signatories”) must notify the NAB in writing. Such notification shall specify:


  1. which On-demand Content Services are to be bound by the Guidelines and
  2. the name and contact details of the Contact Person who will be responsible for administering the Guidelines and responding to Complaints.


  1. Should signatories elect to opt out of the Guidelines, then 2 weeks written notification must be provided to the NAB.


  1. Signatories must within 30 (working) days of having notified the NAB that they will abide by the Guidelines:


  1. Ensure that the guidelines are available on a website associated with the On-demand Content Service.
  2. Specify the name and contact details of the Contact Person to whom complaints regarding its on-demand Services should be directed
  3. Take steps to ensure that staff responsible for editorial decisions on its on-demand content services are made aware of the Guidelines.
  4. Members must keep statistics on all complaints and report them to the NAB at the end of pilot period


  1. Complaints are to be resolved by the Signatory concerned. Should complaints be made to the NAB, these shall be referred to the Signatory.


  1. Signatories agree to reply to all valid complaints within 30 (working) days. Complaints which are vexatious, vague or irrelevant will not be answered. All Complaints must be made within 20 (working) days from the date the on-demand content was consumed.


  • After an initial trial period of twelve months the NAB will assess whether an external appeals process for complaints should be developed.