Monday, April 15, 2024

Kenya bans LGBTQ movies: Netflix and others served warning

The Kenya Film Certification Board (KFCB) has banned all films containing LGBTQ+ content citing it as ‘blasphemous’ to Christianity and against the constitution of Kenya. 

Christopher Wambua, the acting CEO of the KFCB said the Kenyan law does not allow LGBTQ+ content and same-sex relationships. 

“When we rate and categorize content, we also take into account other applicable laws.” If there is any content that normalizes or praises same-sex relationships, Kenya’s stance has always been to restrict and not broadcast, display, or distribute such kind of content within the country’s borders,” Wambua said in an interview with Spice FM.

Wambua went on to name films that had been banned from release, such as ‘I am Samuel,’ for what he called the explicit portrayal of homosexuality-related scenes.

“I am Samuel” was banned in Kenya in 2021, for depicting a ‘blasphemous’ story of a gay couple in Nairobi.

Concerning the increasing distribution of same-sex content on the web, Wambua stated that the government is striving to guarantee that preventative measures are put in place to restrict the airing of such content in the country.

“Most of them are restricting; as a result of our discussions with Netflix, they are curating their classification system that is very affiliated with our laws with the intention of ensuring that in the future, once we sign the agreement, some of this content is not visible at all within the republic,” Wambua explained.

“There is no vacuum, whether you are displaying in a theatre or on a VOD platform; the law is extremely clear.”

At the same time, the KFCB CEO recommended parents be proactive in sensitizing their children by filtering content to limit access to unapproved content. He claimed that doing so would help them develop culturally ‘acceptable’ behaviour. 

The Board is collaborating with other organizations such as the Communication Authority of Kenya, Google Kenya, Evimet Communications Solutions Limited, Netflix, and CODE-IP Trust, among others, on Digital Parenting and Child Online Protection programs that aim to provide parents/caregivers with digital parenting skills and knowledge.

Wambua also said that KFCB has banned a number of films in the past years over their LBTQ+ content and for promoting same-sex relationships.

This ban comes one year after KFCB banned a 52-minute documentary, ‘I Am Samuel’ . It was banned for its storyline promoting homosexuality.

Back then, the film classification body stated that the film “blatantly” violated the country’s laws, which criminalize any kinds of homosexuality or same-sex marriage, and that the plot was a “clear and purposeful attempt by the filmmaker to promote same-sex marriage as an acceptable way of life.”

It stated that the film’s goal was to persuade viewers that the “older generation that was once opposed to LGBTQ+ is slowly getting into the practice and supporting same-sex marriage.”

The film was also deemed blasphemous to the Christian faith by the government. According to the government, two young men are depicted conducting a religious service, which is “an attempt to exploit religion to support same-sex marriage.”

Kenyan law punishes anyone who engages in “carnal knowledge of any individual against the order of nature.” People who are convicted face up to 14 years in prison. Marriage, according to the Kenyan constitution, is a union of two people of opposite genders.

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