MPs riled by unrestricted porn content

October 26, 2011 10:05 am
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – The government was on Wednesday morning put to task over its laxity in monitoring and controlling the use of pornographic material among underage persons in video cafes.

The matter which was raised in Parliament by nominated MP Millie Odhiambo saw Information Assistant Minister George Khaniri admit the discrepancy saying that the Films Classification Board was understaffed and could not effectively discharge this mandate.

Khaniri explained that his ministry required Sh17 million to recruit the new staff, who would then be distributed across all counties.

“We are trying the best we can but we have a limitation in the number of staff to do the monitoring and once we recruit the required number of staff, I want to assure everyone that we will be able to carry out our mandate effectively,” he said.

However several MPs including Gitobu Imanyara (Imenti Central), Abdi Nuh (Bura), Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani), Peris Chepchumba (Eldoret South), Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga) and Charles Kilonzo (Yatta) would not buy the argument.

They challenged Khaniri to disclose what the Board had done so far with its current staff.

“The minister is dodging the real issue because we have implementing agencies so what have they been doing? Recruiting new staff will not help. Can the minister tell us what part of the law has been implemented to date,” demanded Kioni.

“Pornographic material is being sold on the streets so what does that have to do with the recruitment of staff?” posed Kilonzo.

Imanyara also asked the government if it had the ability to prosecute persons found guilty of broadcasting pornographic content.

Khaniri however said that his ministry did not have any prosecutorial powers and could only refer such cases to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim however told him that the excuse did not hold any water as his ministry and the office of the DPP bore equal responsibility.

“You cannot tell us that because you are part of the same government that the DPP is in,” argued Maalim.

The heated debate also saw emotive questions on the content aired on local stations raised.

Khalwale accused the ministry of failing in its responsibility to promote morality in addition to the development of more local content by licensing foreign films.

He explained that the government had also failed to properly regulate the periods at which such content was aired.

“Would the Minister tell us what he is going to do in respect of Mexican and Nigerian movies that are shown on our screens almost 24 hours a day? Have they received the required licensing?” asked Khalwale.

Chanzu further asked the government what it had done so far through the Communications Commission of Kenya to ensure that foreign content was controlled.

Khaniri however maintained that the government ensured that such programmes were first rated before viewership was granted.

Maalim was forced to defer the debate saying that the assistant minister was not well prepared to respond to the concerns raised.

The matter will now be re-visited in two weeks time.

“The concerns raised have not been answered appropriately and the minister will have to give a more detailed response in two weeks time,” he said.

Meanwhile Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode has warned rogue police officers, who are fond of demanding for bribes, they will lose their jobs.

Ojode said that several police officers had been sacked after it emerged that they had been asking for bribes in their line of duty.

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