Kenya’s very own moral police and defender of all that is straight and narrow, Kenya Film Classification Board CEO, Ezekiel Mutua might have received a little more than he bargained for when he hosted the meeting to discuss the proposed amendments put up by the Kenya Film Classification Board at the Louis Leakey Auditorium earlier this week.
The amendments that were proposed in the Films, Stage Plays and Publications 2016 seemed to have come out of nowhere and would have put unnecessary measures on stakeholders and other actors in the Kenyan film industry. Some of the measures put up reportedly include ‘Kenyans taking videos using their mobile phones to register them with the board before posting them on Twitter or Facebook’ and ‘Internet service providers review all the videos exhibited and distributed through their platforms, failure to which they would be fined Sh2 million or be imprisoned for two years or both.’
These requirements seem needless and were deftly rejected by creatives and members of the film and theatre industry in Kenya. George Gachara, Director at The Nest Collective, famous for the internationally and critically acclaimed web series ‘Tuko Macho’ did not hold back while expressing his views about the Bill. “We take this document to the shredder and in good faith start to engage afresh,” which was apparently met with a resounding ‘yes’ from the crowd, later adding “what is the crime in the creation of content? Unless you want people to stop creating content.”
One staunch critic of the regulatory Bill is singer Joji Baro, who is a member of the LBGT community in Kenya. Accusing the KFCB of banning his music without any substantial reason, the musician did not mince his words, “You have affected the LGBT [community] negatively most of the time, yet we are not being represented in decision making or even in expressing our concerns. Why? And I demand an explanation to that!”
Although #KillTheFilmBill was all the rage insiders with the KFCB claimed that all the proposals put forward were formed with many other stakeholders in mind. “It will be against our mandate to allow our children to get ruined by inappropriate content in the name of profit. As a progressive country, we cannot afford to be [a] passive recipient of foreign content that could corrupt the moral values of our children and compromise our national security,” Mutua has mentioned before.
Whichever way, this Bill seems right on time. Right after the ridicule he received online after his passport gaffe. Maybe the hate really did get to him.
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