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Is KFCB delivering its mandate?
By John Kalya | Updated Jul 17, 2016 at 11:44 EAT

KCFB stands for Kenya Film Classification Board. It is a body that was formed to regulate the creation, broadcasting and exhibition of films. This comprise examining films and posters submitted under the act for classification, placing age restrictions on viewership and advising media content consumers. It also licenses and gives certificates to distributors and exhibitors of films. Generally, it provides guidelines on what is appropriate for the Kenyan viewership. In January, 2016 the Department of Film services handed over all regulatory responsibilities to the board.

The mandate of the board was expanded to also include regulating television content during the water-shed period (5am to 10pm); to ensure that content aired during this time is appropriate for family viewing. Last I checked most of the programs aired during that day in major TV stations were inter-looping of afro-cinema movies-soap operas-news-music programs. In the past they have issued warning on international movies (famous are; Wolf of Wall Street and 50 shades of grey) and music videos that were considered explicit.

The main challenge comes with the largely unregulated World Wide Web. In most urban estates, thanks to internet providers like Zuku, connection to high-speed internet is the trend. Many people are always busy on their phones at home or office; streaming videos from YouTube and other websites. The mandate of KFCB is limited, largely, to local content.

There is a rise of the number of youth and children who have access to a smartphone and internet. What the board classifies as inappropriate only feeds the curiosity of this lot to actually “find out” why it was banned in the first place. The said films gained even more viewership after KFCB banned the local stations from airing them.

The board should be involved in sensitization on film issues. Parents should be educated on how to protect their children from accessing lewd content online. The board should also employ more tech-savvy personal to advise them on proper online practices to assist in providing warning alerts for some websites. Regulation should also include engaging the content providers and encouraging production of acceptable local content. The airing of foreign content should also be vetted and classified accordingly. It is not an easy task given the relativity of “acceptable and appropriate”. 

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