NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has vowed to ensure that content now available locally on Netflix is classified afresh in line with Kenya film age ratings.
The board argues that the current ratings by Netflix do not conform with Kenyan classification, hence their content remains harmful to different age groups especially children.
The board chairman Jackson Kosgei insists that any film content consumed in the Kenyan market, local or foreign, must conform to local classification and ratings.
“Netflix has not yet begun ratings in Africa, and their age suitability ratings do not conform to our regulatory laws. It is important for Kenya to benchmark against regulatory measures that are in force in other jurisdictions,” Kosgei told journalists during a media briefing on Wednesday.
KFCB raised concerns that some of the samples from the network have ratings of suitability for 13 year olds, yet they contain classified elements such as extreme violence, nudity, promotion of irresponsible sexual behaviour, inappropriate language and drug abuse.
The board says it has already communicated to Netflix on the issue, whose content is already available online in at least 130 countries, including Kenya.
The board plans to kick off talks with the company by presenting Kenya’s film ratings which will then require Netflix to adhere to or have a system where all the content being brought in the Kenyan market goes through KFCB.
“Somebody is telling us, ‘how can you manage Netflix?’It is like saying we are helpless. Let me inform you, Netflix is domiciled in Los Gatos, California in United States of America. It is a company started by individuals. So there is nothing strange, they must obey the law,” a tough talking Kosgei said.
“This one is operated by people, it can be accessed. America is not in heaven!”
It is still unclear how the Kenya Film Classification Board will regulate Netflix content considering it is online but the board maintains that Netflix content lies under its mandate and cannot be compared to other Internet sites.
“The Films and Stage Plays Act Cap 222 of the Laws of Kenya vests the authority to regulate creation, broadcast, possession, distribution and exhibition of audiovisual content in the country on the board.”
Netflix provides an on-demand Internet streaming media, especially entertainment content, and can be accessed on virtually any device that has an Internet connection. These includes personal computers, tablets, Smartphones, Smart TVs, game and consoles.