Kenyan TV viewers should self-regulate

By Eugene Wanekeya

Is the average Kenyan so uninformed that they cannot make use of parental control on their TV sets? Well this is the question I have been asking myself for the past month as I decide whether or not to chime into this Netflix vs the Kenya Film Classification Board debate.

netflix-feet-upApparently, representatives from the Film Board have said that Netflix will contribute to the country’s moral decline. In addition, the board even makes an attempt to link Netflix content with terrorism. How absurd! This sort of reminds me of a similar debate I used to hear during my childhood years regarding The Bold and the Beautiful. Well, Kenyans watched that addictive and ‘immoral’ show for years but I’m yet to see fathers and sons and even sons-in-law have a go at the same woman. Kenyans deserve credit. We know that entertainment is simply entertainment. Speaking of terrorism, after watching all 9 seasons of 24 I know that the good guys always win. So why on earth would I want to be on the losing side?

Freedom of information is a double edged sword and it is futile trying to blunt one edge because the sword will be rendered half effective.

The Film Classification Board lost this war even before the first battle. Kenyans have had access to this content being streamed by Netflix for years. Just take a walk around any neighborhood or any urban town and you will not miss a movie vendor selling the latest movies and latest TV series all downloaded from the hundreds of sites such as Netflix. I’m pretty sure Netflix did a research on the same because even their pricing of monthly subscription is much lower than my monthly spend on my neighborhood movie guy. If it is about immoral content, just visit any cyber café and look through the search history in the computers, you will be shocked at the number of porn sites people visit.

Freedom of information is a double edged sword and it is futile trying to blunt one edge because the sword will be rendered half effective. We should fully respect this freedom regardless of the kind of information individuals want to access. More focus should be put on educating Kenyans to make wise viewing decisions so that they can self-regulate as opposed to attempting to shield the country from content. An empowered nation will be much more productive than a nation in a bubble.

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