Kenya’s censors have abruptly banned 6 alleged “pro-gay” kids cartoons on Nickelodeon (DStv 305) and Cartoon Network (DStv 301) and ordered MultiChoice to immediately stop showing these cartoons on DStv that is “normalising, glamorising or even glorifying homosexual behaviour” and damaging “family”.
In a statement Mutltichoice said:
Multichoice takes pride in ensuring that we comply with the law in all Jurisdictions that we operate in and are mindful that culture is the foundation of the nation as family values underpin the society.
In tandem with our internal quality control measures, we also ensure all third party suppliers are adequately briefed on country specific regulatory requirements and provisions. MultiChoice has therefore contacted the Channel Suppliers on the various recent complaints made against the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Nicktoons channels with regards to their programming and wish to clarify as below:
Turner with regards to the Cartoon Network channel:
“With respect to the issues raised by customers, we ensure our channels and programming are suitable for children and do not contain the content and messages unsuitable. In Africa, as in all markets, we always seek to be respectful of local laws, cultures and sensitivities and, in some instances, this means we do show amended versions of US original series. We constantly review feedback from our audiences to ensure that this is the case and this is a responsibility that we take extremely seriously.”
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa response on Nickelodeon and Nicktoons channels:
“We acknowledge the concerns expressed by customers. While we explore a variety of options, we will suspend the shows in question in Africa. Although, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa and Nickelodeon Africa are committed to diversity and inclusiveness, VIMN also respects the varied cultures and regulatory codes of the markets in which we operate.”
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) says the Nickelodeon cartoons from Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa), Loud House, The Legend of Korra and Hey Arnold, as well as the Cartoon Network shows Steven Universe, Adventure Time and Clarence from Turner Broadcasting have contravened classification guidelines.
The KFCB claims these 6 cartoons “are intended to introduce children to deviant behaviour”.
The KFCB in a statement says these cartoons “are obnoxious and inappropriate material” and that it “targets children and seeks to impair their moral judgment on the institution of family”.
“The board has written to MultiChoice, the owners of DStv, to cease with immediate effect the airing” of these shows.
Nickelodeon for instance previously showed a drag queen character in its series Bubble Guppies and a same-sex kiss in The Legend of Korra.
The KFCB in its statement says “the children’s programmes are laced with retrogressive and bizarre messages intended to promote the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) agenda in the country.”
The crux is that VIMN Africa, Turner Broadcasting and MultiChoice can’t remove these shows from the channels for just Kenya, and that Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and DStv are in the content and entertainment providing business – not the censorship content banning business.