Netflix which entered the African market early this year has run into stiff opposition in Kenya. Representatives from the The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) said that the company is contributing the country’s moral decline, and wants the television network to rate its content according to Kenyan standards.
According to Quartz Africa, KFCB chairman Jackson Kosgei said, “The board regards this development as a gross contravention of the laws governing film and broadcast content distribution in Kenya,”. He added that Kenya could not afford to be a “passive recipient of foreign content that could corrupt the moral values of our children.”
In its response, Netfix said: “Netflix is an Internet television network, not a traditional broadcaster. Services delivered over the Internet present all sorts of novel questions for policymakers. To watch anything on Netflix, consumers have to subscribe. We empower consumers to make smart viewing choices by providing details on the titles on Netflix, including ratings and episode synopses. We also provide parental control.”
Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Ezekiel Mutua said the Board will not be cowed into giving up its demand that Netflix rate its content according to Kenyan standards despite opposition from multiple quarters. He told Capital News: “We are not morons. We know that they are not traditional broadcasters and we don’t have anything against Netflix in particular; Hulu is coming, WhateverTV is coming, are we meant to just throw our hands up in the air and say oh well, the internet is difficult to regulate?” He also added that, “Netflix content is not universal. Go and read. In fact, Canada is more conservative and they’ve rated it even more stricter than we’re trying to do here in Kenya.”
In an effort to discuss the pros and cons of regulating such services, the Board is planning to hold a ‘stakeholders forum’ on the 9th of February 2016.