Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary says Sanity to Prevail over Controversial Films, Stage Plays and Publications Act

CS, Ministry of ICT speech at the opening of the Connected Summit 2016

CS, Ministry of ICT speech at the opening of the Connected Summit 2016

A few weeks back, the internet was abuzz over a proposed law called the films, stage plays and publications act. The bill fronted by the Kenya Films and Classifications Board was seen as one aimed at stifling the nascent film industry in Kenya.

The bill proposed to empower the Board through giving them mandate to regulate the creation, exhibition and distribution of films, for the classification of broadcast content, online content and outdoor advertisements and to provide consumer advice to enable adults to make informed viewing, listening, reading and gaming choices for themselves and for children under their care.

The bill also gave the KFCB powers for monitoring and enforcement of compliance with the provisions of this Act as well as prevention of the exhibition of broadcast or online content, outdoor advertising and games; that are not reflective of national values and aspirations of the people of Kenya.

Many felt that the law was vague and could be open to abuse when it comes to implementation if left unaltered. The KFCB was, in essence, seeking to regulate the unregulatable such as the internet. The bill further said that internet service providers would be required to ensure that the content  exhibited or distributed through their platforms are classified and that all programs being streamed through their platforms comply with the classification guidelines of the Board. This is, of course, a monumental task which is untenable seeing as thousands of minutes of content get consumed via these platforms any minute.

The cabinet secretary in charge of ICT Joe Mucheru has said that sanity will prevail with regards to the bill and that the controversial parts of the bill will be amended. According to Business Daily, the CS says the amendments to the bill will take place after consultations within the Cabinet and feedback from the public.