Kenyan filmmakers and creatives have opposed a controversial proposed bill by the Kenya Film and Classification Board to increase its powers.
Furious creatives argued at a stakeholders forum against the proposed bill accusing the body of overstepping their mandate.
The proposed bill would require Kenyans posting any videos on the Internet and social media platforms to register all their content for classification.
Proposals in the Films, Stage Plays and Publications 2016 also require police officers to be present during the shooting of a broadcast film and to stop any scene they felt contravenes the regulations.
“Our principal objective is to protect children from harmful exposure. I think we would be lying to ourselves if you say that there is no bad content in the media that children are okay, leave it to the parents. The government has a duty to set the bench marks and the guidelines and then let the players apply those guidelines, and the way to set the guidelines is through consultative process,” said KFCB CEO, Ezekiel Mutua.
Industry players said the bill was vague and open to abuse at the expense of artists.
The Kenya Film and Classification Board agreed to withdraw and review the bill, but artists said they are pushing for better representation to avoid future efforts to censor the creative industry.
“We shall make sure that it does not see the light of day because I am not the only one. There are many people in that room who are completely dissatisfied with that bill, but we are committed to working with KFCB, with KFC, with the ministry of Arts, with the PS who has given us his sureties to continue to make a better document, so I guess it was a good meeting that the artists got their voices heard,” said George Gachara, an activist and filmmaker.
Kenya’s film industry has seen a revival and was worth 2 billion US dollars in 2016 up from 600 million in 2007, according to a study commissioned by the Kenya Film Commission.