Cape Town – Kenya's censors have abruptly banned 6 alleged "pro-gay" kids cartoons on Nickelodeon (DStv 305) and Cartoon Network (DStv 301) and ordered MultiChoice to immediately stop showing these cartoons on DStv that is "normalising, glamorising or even glorifying homosexual behaviour" and damaging "family".
Kenya is following Nigeria's censorship move where TV-bans on content in that country on channels ranging from Nickelodeon and E! Entertainment to TLC Entertainment have seen content being removed from MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform for the entire African content and affecting all of the continent's viewers since the channels often only have one channel feed for Africa.
THE KFCB COMPLAINT:
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) says the Nickelodeon cartoons from Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa), Loud House, The Legend of Korra and Hey Arnold, as well as the Cartoon Network shows Steven Universe, Adventure Time and Clarence from Turner Broadcasting have contravened classification guidelines.
The KFCB claims these 6 cartoons "are intended to introduce children to deviant behaviour".
The KFCB in a statement says these cartoons "are obnoxious and inappropriate material" and that it "targets children and seeks to impair their moral judgment on the institution of family".
"The board has written to MultiChoice, the owners of DStv, to cease with immediate effect the airing" of these shows.
Nickelodeon for instance previously showed a drag queen character in its series Bubble Guppies and a same-sex kiss in The Legend of Korra.
The KFCB in its statement says "the children's programmes are laced with retrogressive and bizarre messages intended to promote the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) agenda in the country."
The crux is that VIMN Africa, Turner Broadcasting and MultiChoice can't remove these shows from the channels for just Kenya, and that Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and DStv are in the content and entertainment providing business – not the censorship content banning business.
MULTICHOICE AFRICA RESPONSE:
MultiChoice Africa in response to a media enquiry following the KFCB banning decision, told Channel24 that it can't yet comment on the details but that the pay-TV provider learnt of the existence of from the KFCB letter and that MultiChoice Africa is "currently investigating the matters raised in the letter".
VIMN AFRICA RESPONSE:
VIMN Africa in response to a media enquiry says that it will pull the Nickelodeon shows in Kenya.
"We acknowledges the concerns expressed by the Kenyan Film Classification Board. While we explore a variety of options, we will suspend the shows in question in Kenya."
"Although Viacom International Media Networks Africa and Nickelodeon Africa are committed to diversity and inclusiveness, VIMN also respects the varied cultures and regulatory codes of the markets in which we operate. In markets where broadcasting codes allow, we will be making the content available on catch up services."
TURNER BROADCASTING EMEA RESPONSE:
Turner Broadcasting EMEA responsible for the Cartoon Network channels in a statement in response to a media enquiry, tells Channel24 "inclusivity is core to our values and this is evident across many of our shows and characters".
"At the same time, in Africa, as in all markets, we always seek to be respectful of local cultures and sensitivities, whilst remaining true to our shows that we know fans all over the world love. We constantly review feedback from our audiences to ensure that this is the case and this is a responsibility that we take extremely seriously," says Turner Broadcasting.
In July 2016 VIMN Africa said it is censoring an episode of The Loud House on Nickelodeon and won't be broadcasting it on its channel on DStv in Africa since it featured animated gay dads.
In May 2016 NBCUniversal International Networks was forced to pull the second season of I Am Cait, a reality show about Caitlyn Jenner, from E! Entertainment making it unavailable for the entire Africa, after complaints and a DStv TV-ban in Nigeria.
In October 2015 Discovery Networks International was forced to censor and remove the transgender teen docu-series I Am Jazz from TLC Entertainment from the channel carried on DStv across the entire Africa just before it was to begin broadcast, following censorship in Nigeria.
M-Net that has regionalised channel feeds for South, East and West Africa has been altering and self-censoring its East and West channel feeds for M-Net (DStv 101), the now shuttered M-Net Edge, and its other M-Net packaged channels by keeping controversial shows like American Gods away from East and West Africa.
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