The rapid growth of television channels from 15 to over 100 has complicated the monitoring and classification of content development aimed at protecting children from harmful materials.
Subsequently, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has pointed out that the accumulated growth of content development has made it difficult for it to cope.
However, KFCB CEO Christopher Wambua has reassured the public that despite inherent challenges, the ICT sector has created numerous opportunities for youth across the country.
Wambua singled out Showmax and Netflix as some of the new leading content users whose materials have to be classified by KFCB before being released for use.
Speaking in Kisumu, the CEO appealed to the respective management of broadcasters and film streamers (film streaming online) to liaise closely with KFCB to facilitate the classification of content running on their platforms.
“This category will apply to KFCB to offer regulatory oversight on the self-classification just to ensure that the young ones are protected from inappropriate content,” Wambua explained.
The forum, which brought together local filmmakers drawn from Western Kenya, decried the film production costs as quite high.
“The government has proposed a 15 per cent reduction in film-licensing fees for the local filmmakers across the country targeting children aged between 10 and 16 years,” he said.
In this way, he observed that the move will spur the film sector by encouraging investment and creating more opportunities for local filmmakers to monetize their talents.
Wambua concurred with the filmmakers that they should be left to recover from the adverse impact of COVID-19.
He further said that relevant bodies, including the National Assembly, have a role to facilitate this through proper legislation after a thorough debate on the proposed Films and Stage Plays Act Regulations and Guidelines.
However, he added that the prevailing charges against foreign filmmakers will remain intact as a step towards promoting the production of more local content.
The KFCB CEO explained that the current film ratings are termed; General Exhibition (GE), Parental Guidance (PG), 10, 16, 18, and Restricted.
To bridge the huge rating gap for content, KFCB is proposing a new film rating (PG 13) targeting children aged between 10 and 16 years, which means film classification in terms of demographics.
He commended Kisumu and Western Kenya, saying they have a vibrant film industry that should be nurtured further.
The CEO revealed that KFCB is reaching out to the Council of Governors (COG) to consider incentivizing filmmaking by lowering levies charged to help minimize the high cost paid by local filmmakers in Kenya.
By Rolex Omondi