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Mucheru says draft law on blogger video uploads to be amended

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TUESDAY OCTOBER 25 2016 

ICT secretary Joe Mucheru. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

·     ICT secretary Joe Mucheru says the Films, Stage Plays and Publication Bill is still in the draft stage and that ultimately “sanity will prevail”.
·         Under the proposed law, Kenyans posting video content online would need to have it classified by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB).
·         The law also authorises police officers to stop the shooting of films and videos which they feel have content that is against KFCB regulations.
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By MUTHOKI MUMO
A controversial Bill that would require Kenyans posting videos online to seek clearance of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) will be amended, a Cabinet Secretary has said.
ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru said in an interview the Films, Stage Plays and Publication Bill authored by KFCB is still in the draft stage and that ultimately “sanity will prevail”.
It has caused uproar mainly from Kenyan bloggers and artists.
Under the law, Kenyans posting video content online would need to have it classified by KFCB. It also authorises police officers to stop the shooting of films and videos which they feel have content that is against KFCB regulations.
Mr Mucheru said the Bill was likely to be amended after consultations within the Cabinet and feedback from the public.
“Other views will come in and I think that at the end we will get a position where we cannot kill innovation… so I think the country should not be panicking,” said Mr Mucheru.
There had been concerns that the proposed law would stifle Kenya’s nascent television, film and technologies industries.
The government is seeking to stimulate growth in these sectors through various projects and policy initiatives. In one of these, audio and video recording studios will be set up at the county level, allowing artists to record content at subsidised rates.
Already, five such studios have been set up and are awaiting operationalisation in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
The Studio Mashinani project is under the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), the State broadcaster.
Artists will be able to either sell the content to the national broadcaster or pay a fee for the recording services if they wish to find different buyers in the open market.
“We want to make them accessible to our young people who are struggling to record music or plays and they don’t have a facility where they can go,” said Mr Mucheru.
Kenya’s film and music sectors have the potential to contribute significantly to the economy.
Kenya’s film industry is estimated to be worth about Sh7 billion ($70 million). However, nearly 33 per cent of this comes from the informal sector.
Film makers want the government to offer incentives to businesses and to adopt regulatory stances that promote growth.

Already, the government has passed regulations requiring that by June 2018, 60 per cent of all content aired on television should be locally produced.

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