Content creators challenge KFCB licensing directive

Days after the government ordered YouTube content creators be licensed before uploading videos on their channels, the directive has been challenged in court.

Fredrick Bikeri Ochiki moved to court seeking to block the enforcement of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) decision issued late last month to YouTubers uploading audio-visual content to their channels without valid licences pending the determination of his application.

Bikeri urged Justice John Chigiti to quash the notice by KFCB chairperson Njogu wa Njoroge dated May 22, 2024 that has caused an uproar over the last two weeks, saying the directive that content creators must have licences before uploading is a direct attack on the burgeoning creative industry in the country.

According to the petitioner, KFCB issued demand letters to content creators including Timothy Kimani alias Njugush, Jacky Vike alias Awinja, Ben Cyco, Eunice Mammito, Makarios Ouma also known as Mwafreeka, Oga Obinna, Abel Mutua, and Terence Creative that they must obtain filming licences from the board before posting their content and distributing it to the public.

“The respondent(KFCB) is unilaterally attempting to license social media videos posted by ordinary Kenyan youth without engaging stakeholders; without allowing them to be heard and air their reservations,” Bikeri says.

Aggrieved by the decision, Bikeri petitioned the Milimani Judicial Revision seeking to compel KFCB to review its decision arguing that if the State enforces the directive it will stifle the little growth and progress creatives in Kenya have made.

He said that demand by the State will see ridiculously exorbitant fees imposed on Kenyan creatives which are unfair when compared with their contemporaries in other countries.

The petitioner faults  KFCB for trying to enforce regulation and licensing fees on the videos Kenyans post on social media platforms regardless of whether these videos earn fees or not.

“The demand by the respondents will see Kenyan youth being forced to pay licensing fees for videos that do not really earn them a living.’’