After we (Yes, I am not going to exclude myself from this) went all up in arms to condemn the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) after they gave a notice that they would be implementing film regulations that would require anyone shooting a film for public consumption in Kenya to acquire a license.
However, it’s no one’s fault that we all picked up our pitchfork ready to torch the board, their notice was quite ambiguous on what constitutes a film and they made everything worse when they themselves did not seem to understand their own regulations.
Trouble started when someone tweeted the board and enquired whether the new film regulations apply to online videos that Kenyans post, such as on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites, the response set fire to the rain:
On top of this, certain Kenyan YouTubers paid a visit to KFCB offices in Nairobi and made videos (Video 1 and Video 2) on how it was confirmed to them that they (content creators), would require to get a filming license and pay exorbitant fees just to produce their videos since they are for “public consumption”.
What followed, was a series of Kenyans tweeting at Both the Board and their CEO through their Twitter handles showing their disconsent for the new regulations. After a day or so of trending hashtags and angry tweets, KFCB seems to have changed their stance, evidenced by their Twitter conversation with Kenya’s State House Secretary of Digital, Innovations and Diaspora Communications, Dennis Itumbi:
“Twisting the Message” and Deleted Tweets
After that tweet to Dennis Itumbi, KFCB went on a deleting spree of all their tweets that they had mentioned online content creators requiring a license. Things changed so fast, that it went as far as content creators being accused of spreading fake news.
Ezekiel Mutua also said that his words were being twisted and information was being distorted. “Some people are trying hard to twist the message in this advert. The message here is principally targeting local and international filmmakers,” he is quoted.
In an interview with BBC Africa following the uproar, the board’s CEO said that people do not need a license to post private videos on social media, however, he adds that KFCB will monitor the content for violations like porn, terror and child abuse.
By this time, however, the issue had attracted the attention of Nairobi’s Senator, Johnson Sakaja, who had at first strongly called out the board for implementing such regulations calling them “backward law(s)”. The senator later tweeted that he had spoken to Ezekiel Mutua who clarified that YouTubers would not be charged, the Senator also mentioned that he had summoned KFCB to the Senate to agree on how to support the Creative Industry.