The introduction of Netflix to Kenya has received a substantial amount of backlash from the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) ever since its introduction to the country on the 6th of January. The American multinational provider of Internet streaming media with over 74 million subscribers globally, 44 million being U.S citizens has been said to be a threat to the country’s “moral values and national security”
Speaking at a press conference in Nairobi, Mr. Jackson Kosgei, the chairman of KFCB added that the country would not be a “passive recipient of foreign content that could corrupt the moral values of our children.” The KFCB board has also added the films and programs are filled with extreme violence, nudity, drug abuse and inappropriate language.
But even with the issue of content regulation of the programs that Netflix provides, it still remains a winner in most people’s eyes. With most of the country’s population switching to digital television in the past year, viewers have been given the freedom to view what they want, in comparison to pay TV that only had specific programs. In this age of free online content, Wi-Fi speeds like that of a cheetah and the fact that 1 in every 10 people has access to a computer or a laptop, the government’s need to control what we view shouldn’t be an option.
As you walk around Nairobi’s CBD area, familiar signs for example, ‘Buy 4 movies and get one free’ or ‘Buy movies at Kshs 40 each’ always hit one’s eyes; and if that doesn’t get your attention then try walking around estates and you will definitely get a movie shop a stone’s throw away. Even without the initiation of Netflix in the country, there is still a way in which anyone can get the popular series that stream on the service like the infamous Orange is the new black and House of Cards.
But let’s look at it this way. What do we stand for? Is it that the programs that are aired on television that define who we really are? Do they say what we stand for as a people?
Also, why is the government trying to regulate morality? I do not think that the government should be spending their time trying to play moral police. They should focus on stabilizing our economy and doing more on development projects than thinking that just because 50 Shades of Grey is being watched by people all over the world, that we will also somehow start being Dominatrix and Submissives.
I believe that we elected the government to help steer our nation to a better future and not to decide what we may or may not watch. I highly believe that we are well capable of that on our own. Besides, if the regulating body does decide to sit and review all the 125 million hours of content on Netflix, they will be done sometime in the year 2029. Where will we be as a country then? I don’t know about you but I didn’t not elect my government to put up moral signs for me everywhere I turn.
In the end it all boils down to choice. We all have the power to choose. You can choose either to view content that is considered “threats to national security” or you could choose to feed your mind and soul with idealisms that will enrich you. It all boils down to choice, and we have the moral capability to decide what we should and should not watch. Besides in this day and age, nothing is out of reach.