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Film agencies clash in new licence fees row

KFCB Chief executive officer Ezekiel Mutua. FILE PHOTO | NMG
KFCB Chief executive officer Ezekiel Mutua. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenya Film Commission (KFC) has hit out at the film classification board’s bid to introduce licence fees and stringent regulations for film- makers.

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) last week issued a 14 days’ notice to film makers creating videos meant for public exhibition without a valid licence to comply or face the full force of law.

KFC in a strongly worded statement yesterday said the classification board’s move would curtail development of the nascent sector.

“We feel strongly that KFCB has become too obsessed with introducing fees for every work of art thereby curtailing every effort of industry players both existing and upcoming to eke a living from creative content,” said KFC in the statement released Wednesday.

KFC is legally mandated to promote the film industry, while KFCB is the sector regulator.

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The statement puts the two State agencies at loggerheads.

The classification board said any persons or company found guilty of the offence contravenes the law and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both.

The public notice was made after the Board learned that some local and international filmmakers were operating in the country without valid filming licences.

“By the way of this announcement, the Board hereby issues a 14 days’ notice to all offenders and defaulters to comply with the provisions of the Film and Stage Plays Act Cap222. At the expiry of this notice, the Board will proceed to institute legal proceedings against the offenders in line with the law,” said KFCB chief executive officer Ezekiel Mutua. The Films and Stage Plays Act Chapter 222 says creation of any film meant for public exhibition without a filming license from KFCB is illegal. The Board has the mandate to confiscate and destroy film where a person or an organisation contravenes the Act.

The Act gives KFCB the power to regulate film and broadcast content at the creation, transmission, distribution, exhibitions and possession levels.

According to the Act the Board also has power to impose age restrictions on viewership, give consumer advice, having due regard to the protection of women and children against sexual exploitation or degradation in cinematograph films and on the internet.

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