KUJ calls for changes to proposed Films Bill

The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) National Governing Council met this morning to review a number of issues that are threatening press freedom and welfare of journalists.
KUJ has noted with concern a new threat to press freedom by the Kenya Film and Classification Board, which seeks to extend its mandate illegally, through the Films, Stage Plays and Publications Bill (KFCB), 2016.
The proposed law, if passed in its current form, is a threat to the creativity industry and practise of journalism in this country and will water down the milestones made in the freedom of the media. The board seeks to arrogate itself powers to license and monitor weddings and private functions including our children’s birthdays.
It is ironical that while the Government has adopted information and communication technology as a key pillar in its development agenda, the board seeks sweeping powers to control circulation of content on social media.
In addition, the board wants to license the use of mobile phones in taking of pictures and video, bringing to question the roles and presence of the Communication Authority and the Ministry of Information and Communications, and Interior Security.
The board is currently wreaking havoc in the media industry using MoU it signed with the Communications Authority.
Based on the aforementioned, KUJ demands:
First, withdrawal of the Bill and the pave way for consultation to remove offensive clauses.
Second, reconstitution of the Board to rid it of fundamentalists and extremists and have people who understand the dynamics of the industry run affairs of the board.
Third, the board convenes forums with stakeholders to debate the Bill to strike a deal on an acceptable law.
Lastly, the activities of the Board be reviewed to ensure it operates within the law.
Failure to do so, KUJ will seek alternative measures to ensure the Bill is amended to reflect the wishes of the stakeholders.

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