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Kenyan govt takes aim at streaming services

Kenya , 11 Oct 2016

Kenyan govt takes aim at streaming services

The Kenyan government is backing new legislation aimed at regulating content from ISPs, as well as that of gaming applications, Video on Demand (VoD) and Over the Top (OTT) services.

The proposed Film, Stage Plays and Publication Act 2016, drafted by the Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB), is yet to be ratified but at its core expects ISPs not to host or distribute any material that is not certified and classified by the board.

According to the legislation ISPs must "take reasonable steps to prevent the use of their services for hosting or distributing pornography, radicalisation materials, glamorisation of use of drugs and alcohol, hate speech and demining any religion and community and report all persons maintaining or hosting or distributing all content reasonably suspected to be in violation of this Act."

Service providers who want to produce, host and distribute content from the country, including web hosting companies, could be affected.

The KFCB states, "The provision of the act, which was enacted in 1963, also aims to accommodate emerging regulatory challenges occasioned by new innovation in film production and distribution. This include over the top services (OTT), video on demand services (VoD) and other online content streaming services."

ISPs will be fined up to Kshs 2 million (US$20,000) or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both for not complying with these requirements.

When streaming service Netflix launched in 130 countries in January this year, KFCB vowed that it will regulate the service which is generally accessed through internet services.

Back in February, the chairman of KFCB, Jackson Kosgei described Netflix's content as immoral and doubted its ratings for the Kenyan audience.

The bill will also affect commercial ads, stage plays and film all which have to be approved by the KFCB before production.

The proposed law has been met with fierce opposition from media and film practitioners, and resulted in an online petition under the hashtag #StopFilmBill.

The KFCB said that they are inviting views from the film and media practitioners to shape the draft law into something that is acceptable to all.

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