South Africa’s Film and Publications Board, headed by Sipho Risibia, has seen it fit to align itself with Kenya’s homophobic publications board, which regularly attacks the LGBTI community and the right to freedom of speech.
Thanks to our friends at Mamba Online for alerting us to the story about the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) signing a memorandum of understanding with South Africa’s Film and Publications Board (FPB) “that fosters common approaches in online content regulation.”
The move comes shortly after the Kenyan censors attempted to ban the Same Love music video from YouTube. They claimed that the clip, which supports LGBTI equality in Africa, “promotes” homosexuality and contains nudity and pornography (which it does not). The Chief Executive of KFCB, Ezekiel Mutua, warned that “Kenya must not allow people to become the Sodom and Gomorrah through psychological drive from such content.”
YouTube has quite correctly refused to take the video down. The two entities have also found common ground in the “threat” of American streaming service Netflix, which was recently launched in South Africa. The South African FPB has apparently given Netflix 14 days to comply with local regulations or face sanctions.
South Africa’s new (twenty year old) constitution is a far cry from that of the Apartheid years, where censorship was the order of the day. The SA Constitution also provides full equality for LGBTI people. It is disheartening to see the South African FPB embrace an alliance that stinks of censorship and also to see it align itself with a country like Kenya, which not only criminalizes homosexuality, but also where LGBTI people suffer intimidation and persecution at the hands of authorities and populace, alike.
Melanie Nathan, Commissionermnathan@gmail.com