26 February 2016

Africa: Kenya Films Board Gives Google a Week to Take Down Gay Song Video

Photo: Art Attack
Screenshots from the video.

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has ordered Google to pull down a video that the agency says is inappropriate for promoting gay relationships.

According to Business Daily, Chief executive Ezekiel Mutua Tuesday had written to Google Kenya and other arms of law asking them to take action against creators and distributors of the music video titled Same Love (by Art Attack) whose lyrics, he says, advocate gay rights in Kenya.

Mr Mutua said the video, which was released last week, has graphic sexual scenes between people of the same gender as well as depiction of nudity and pornography. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya.

"Kenya must not allow its people to become the Sodom and Gomorrah of the current age through psychological drive from such content. We have written to Google to remove the video from their platforms. We expect they will do it within one week from now to avoid further violation of the law," he said.

"Article 45 of the Kenyan Constitution defines marriage as a union between persons of the opposite and the Penal Code Section 162 to 165 criminalises homosexual behaviour and that has not changed." said the KFCB chief executive at a media briefing in Nairobi.

Google Kenya communications manager Dorothy Ooko, however said that the global tech giant is yet to receive the request from KFCB. Ms Ooko said it is not only the KFCB that could raise concerns on inappropriate content but the public is also encouraged to flag any 'bad' content and make a request for its removal.

"Our Kenya office is not aware of any request made in regards to that particular video, perhaps they sent it to our US counterparts but immediately they (Google US) let us know, we shall remove it depending on the legal issues around it," said Ms Ooko.

The KFCB says that Section 181 of the Penal Code prohibits the distribution and exhibition of indecent content with potential of corrupting moral values of youth and children. Those who violate the law face two years' imprisonment.

Mr Mutua said the authors and producers of the song did not get a recording licence from the board as required by law and that a warrant of their arrest has been issued.

He said that the Kenyan version of the newly-released adaptation of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Same Love, contravenes with the culture and the laws regulating distribution of film and broadcast content in Kenya.

Ms Ooko however said that YouTube content is not controlled by Google as the content is owned by the content creators. Ms Ooko said that in Kenya they have only had one incident last year when they had to remove content that was violent and graphic, showing how the Al-Shabaab were mutilating Kenyans during an attack.

"The content was very graphic and we removed it immediately, I doubt even Kenyans noticed it," she said.

The move by KFCB comes after a week ago, The Kenya Film Classification Board banned 'Same Love (Remix)' by Kenyan band Art Attack on the grounds that "it does not adhere to the morals of the country". Chairman Ezekiel Mutua said via Twitter on Tuesday that the producers did not obtain a filming license as stipulated in the law and urged the public not to distribute the song.


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