Film body to hold nationwide consultations on new law

Ezekiel Mutua,CEO,Kenya Film Classification Board during the launch of the nominees for the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) at the Breakfast meeting for Sponsors and Partners for World Press Freedom Day Celebrations at the Nairobi Safari Club hotel. May 4th,2016. Photo/Elvis Ogina (Nairobi)
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) will continue to consult other stakeholders with respect to the repeal of the Film and Stage plays Act otherwise referred to as CAP 222 of the Laws of Kenya.

Speaking at the National Museum of Kenya after meeting actors, producers and directors on the new proposal to make the CAP 222 in line with new technological developments and dynamics.

"We have started the process of reviewing CAP 222 at the request of the industry after a consultative meeting at Michael Joseph Centre and stakeholders wrote a memorandum for the review and forwarded to the Cabinet Secretary of Sports , Culture and the Arts," said Dr Mutua.

This was a first of a series of consultative meetings on the review of the law and we are now moving to meet other stakeholders in private and public sectors such as parents, religious institutions, consumer protection groups and other government agencies and legislators.

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It is this meeting that priced the document that He also asked organizations to write memoranda on the document that is currently uploaded on their website.

During the meeting stakeholders had a chance to speak and air views on the newly proposed Film, stage Plays and Publications Act 2016 that is geared towards streamlining classification and regulation of the creative economy.

Dr Mshai Mwangola argued that the raft of proposals would reverse certain gains from the freedom of expression especially actors on stage and urged for its review form ground zero.

George Gachara who is the Co-Executive Director with the banned gay movie Stories of Our Lives read a memorandum asking the meeting to trash the proposal altogether.

Docubox Programme Manager Mudamba Mudamba also asked for a relook of the proposals, "I think we want to have a situation where a new process was initiated to deal with the issues."

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Also contributing former comedian turned politician Maurice Ochieng aka Mdomo Baggy expressed disgust that there seem to have been a group of activist who almost messed the consultative meeting.

"How could you say that other stakeholders views not at the meeting did not matter," he wondered after a section of the meeting took a position on the document and did not warrant the attention of other views in cooperated into it.

Kenya School of Law don Charles Ouma who was moderating the meeting on the document but had difficult time with those who thought the document should be thrashed.

They didn't want to hear any other views proposing that a discussion on the document would take place and could only want to go with what they called, Gachara Declaration.

The declaration had proposed a trashing of the proposals and a new process started.

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"We will take it that this meeting has suggested that we don't go ahead with the document but we shall continue to talk to other stakeholders form now going forward," said Dr Mutua.

Nduta Sialo the Secretary General of the Kenya Actors Guild agree with this position and say there was a group of the meeting that became intolerant and noisy and that way some.

"I received a text telling us to stop the document and some of us who had a different position were never given a chance to speak," said Nduta who is a filmmaker.

Victor Muniafu the Kenya film and Television professionals Association Chairman and CEO Machawood who doubled up as the moderator for the day expressed his disappointment with the turn of events saying structured conversations involving registered associations should be pursued as a follow up to the meeting.

"Memoranda from associations with views should be presented and used as guidelines for the constructive engagements in future," he said adding that it is unfortunate that today's agenda was hijacked by some activist bent on sabotaging any positive engagements.

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Distributors Guild Chairman Tony Mwite said that the atmosphere was so wild and would not allow for a contrary position and felt there could have been opportunity for contrary opinion to be given a chance.

Member of the Screen Actors Guild of America and America Federation of Radio and Television Actors Chris Kamau said that consultations was a win for the film industry because it has given us an opportunity to grow creative economy.

Starting Thursday KFCB will be holding consultative meetings with religious and youth at the Coast including Mombasa.

Kenya Film Classification BoardLaws of Kenya