SA’s Film & Publication Board refuses to reveal Kenyan censors agreement

sa-film-and-publication-board-refuses-to-reveal-kenyan-censors-agreementDespite an official Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request made almost five months ago the Film & Publications Board (FBP) has continued to refuse to reveal the agreement it signed with anti-LGBT Kenyan censors.

In March, we reported that the FPB had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) that would see the two parties collaborating in censoring online content.

Disturbingly, the KFCB has a history of banning or attempting to ban LGBT themed material, including films and music videos. Chief Executive of KFCB, Ezekiel Mutua, has also warned that “Kenya must not allow people to become the Sodom and Gomorrah through psychological drive from such content.”

When Mambaonline approached the FPB at the time, it declined to reveal the content of the agreement and shockingly refused to condemn the KFCB’s homophobic attacks on freedom of expression and human rights violations against the LGBT community.

In response, the Right2Know Campaign made a request in May under the PAIA legislation requesting a copy of the agreement. After repeated follow-up requests by the campaign, the FPB has responded that the request is still “being attended to” by its legal team.

Under the PAIA law, the FPB must provide the information within 30 days, or give a legitimate reason for refusing, neither of which it has done almost five months later.

A scene from the Same Love music video, which was banned by Kenyan censors

A scene from the Same Love music video, which was banned by Kenyan censors

“The Kenyan board is notorious for censoring legitimate expression and the MOU should be available for public scrutiny. Such secrecy does not instil confidence in the FPB’s commitment to transparency and accountability,” Right2Know said in a statement.

Murray Hunter, Right2Know Advocacy Coordinator, added: “It is outrageous that the FPB continues to claim that it is acting in the interests of the public of South Africa when they partner with the notorious Kenyan censors, and then refuse to provide any further info to the public here.”

The campaign has also criticised the FPB’s controversial Films and Publications Amendment Bill, which it claims “contains serious censorship clauses and is unconstitutional”. It called on Parliament to “reject the bill and to promote legislation that protects and promotes freedom of expression and access to information”.

Mambaonline e-mailed the FPB on Friday requesting comment but has not received a response of any kind.

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