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Updated: Egypt and Morocco Recommend...

The movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings

Link Here28th December 2014
Exodus: Gods and Kings is a 2014 UK / USA / Spain drama by Ridley Scott.
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Ben Kingsley. Youtube link IMDb

Epic adventure Exodus: Gods and Kings is the story of one man's daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Egypt has banned the Hollywood biblical epic movie Exodus: Gods and Kings for reasons of religious intolerance whilst citing 'historical inaccuracy'

The film relates how the religious character Moses helped Israelite slaves flee persecution in Egypt under the Pharaoh Ramses by parting the Red Sea to let them cross safely.

Culture Minister Gaber Asfour told AFP Ridley Scott's blockbuster was rife with mistakes, including an apparent claim that Moses and the Jews built the pyramids. Asfour claimed:

This totally contradicts proven historical facts. It is a Zionist film. It gives a Zionist view of history and contains historical inaccuracies and that's why we have decided to ban it.

Mohammed Afifi, the head of the censorship committee, said he took issue with the scene showing the parting of the Red Sea in which Moses is seen holding a sword like a warrior, instead of a stick. Furthermore, he claimed, the parting of the Red Sea is explained in the movie as a tidal phenomenon rather than a divine miracle.

Morocco has also banned the film, despite it already having been approved by the state-run Moroccan Cinema Center. Hassan Belkady, who runs Cinema Rif in Casablanca, told media24 news website that he had been threatened with the closure of his business if he ignored the ban.

Update: UAE recommends Exodus

28th December 2014. See  article from

The United Arab Emirates became the latest country to ban the release of Exodus: Gods and Kings . A film censor from the National Media Council, Juma Obeid Al Leem, told Gulf News:

This movie is under our review and we found that there are many mistakes not only about Islam but other religions too. So, we will not release it in the UAE.



Update: Lawyers continue to be enriched by satellite porn in South Africa...

TV broadcaster fails to prevent a revisit of the TV censor's decision to award licences for porn channels

Link Here 14th December 2014
Full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will have to reconsider a decision to grant Top TV licences to broadcast three pornography channels.

The Western Cape High Court dismissed On Digital Media's application for leave to appeal a ruling that the communications authority must revisit its decision.

A previous court case had decided that the TV regulator had not considered a restriction on porn distribution found in laws pertaining to DVD distribution and the country's film censors.

Judge Lee Bozalek said he was correct in remitting a decision to license On Digital Media's porn channels back to Icasa rather than apply the discretion himself. He said it's not up to the court to sever the good from the bad with regard to a decision to license three porn channels.

On Digital Media, operating as Top TV, was granted three licences in April last year to broadcast adult content pay channels. In its appeal application, On Digital Media said remitting the decision back to Icasa would lead to unnecessary delay, prejudice and cost.



Update: Classified as Repressive...

South Africa also plans for the film censors to take control of the internet

Link Here11th December 2014
South African film censors from the Film and Publications Board (FPB) plans to extend its censorship control to the digital space and, in a draft policy document, proposes that all online content distributed in South Africa must be censored by March 2016.

However there are concerns that the agency has drafted this online regulation policy without consulting stakeholders and the breadth of its ambit could invite abuse.

The draft policy requires that, as of 31 March 2016, no one will be allowed to distribute digital content in South Africa unless it is classified in terms of the board's guidelines, or a system accredited by the board, and aligned to its classification guidelines, and the Film and Publications Act and its classifications. The FPB logo must also be prominently displayed.

This regulation would clearly apply to major corporates such as Google and Apple, who face sanctions if they don't comply, but it could also affect bloggers or individuals posting video clips online, who in some cases could face legal action.

The draft policy requires that anyone who wants to distribute a film, game or certain publications online will have to apply for an online distribution agreement. A prescribed fee, determined by the minister, will be imposed and, after payment, the distributor can classify content on behalf of the board by using its classification guidelines and those of the FPB Act.




Update: Hard Decision...

South African porn channel to fight court decision requiring it to re-apply for permission to broadcast

Link Here12th November 2014
Full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel
On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa wants to continue broadcasting hardcore porn to South African satellite viewers and is appealing the ruling from the Western Cape High Court which found the process flawed in which South Africa's broadcasting regulator approved the porn channels.

It's evident that the pay-TV provider sees pornographic TV channels as part of its plan and will fight to retain its hardcore sex channels which it has been broadcasting since November 2013 as a separate sex package for R159 per month.

According to court documents ODM and StarTimes Media SA have around 400 subscribers for the sex channels which Icasa approved after the company applied for a second time to broadcast porn following its first application which was denied.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has not yet decided whether it, like ODM and StarTimes Media SA, will be appealing the ruling.

At the beginning of the month the Western Cape High Court ordered StarSat to stop broadcasting its pornography TV channels in South Africa after the the morality campaign, Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa), Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life took Icasa and StarSat to court for allowing and broadcasting pornography on television in South Africa.

Icasa admitted to court that the regulator had failed to appoint experts to consider StarSat's porn plan. On Digital Media also failed to register with the Film and Publications Board (FPB) as a porn distributor.

Update: Appeal

23rd November 2014. See  article from

An application for leave to appeal a court ruling on the licensing of three porn pay channels will be heard in the Western Cape High Court next month.

The application by On Digital Media (ODM) will be heard on 5 December.

In its appeal application, ODM argued that Icasa's decision was only invalid insofar as it failed to prohibit ODM from broadcasting films that had been classified as X18 , in accordance with the Film and Publications Act.

There was no reason this aspect of the decision could not be remedied by means of severance, it argued in the application.

It believed that remitting the decision back to Icasa would lead to unnecessary delay, prejudice and costs.



Rwanda Recommends...

BBC's This World: Rwanda's Untold Story

Link Here29th October 2014
The BBC described its programme, This World: Rwanda's Untold Story:

Twenty years on from the Rwandan genocide, This World reveals evidence that challenges the accepted story of one of the most horrifying events of the late 20th century. The current president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has long been portrayed as the man who brought an end to the killing and rescued his country from oblivion. Now there are increasing questions about the role of Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front forces in the dark days of 1994 and in the 20 years since.

The film investigates evidence of Kagame's role in the shooting down of the presidential plane that sparked the killings in 1994 and questions his claims to have ended the genocide. It also examines claims of war crimes committed by Kagame's forces and their allies in the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo and allegations of human rights abuses in today's Rwanda.

Former close associates from within Kagame's inner circle and government speak out from hiding abroad. They present a very different portrait of a man who is often hailed as presiding over a model African state. Rwanda's economic miracle and apparent ethnic harmony has led to the country being one of the biggest recipients of aid from the UK. Former prime minister Tony Blair is an unpaid adviser to Kagame, but some now question the closeness of Mr Blair and other western leaders to Rwanda's president.

But it was all a bit too much for Rwanda. The government has suspended all BBC radio broadcasts in Rwanda's most common language to protest against the news organisation's recent documentary about the 1994 genocide in the country.

The Rwandan TV censor announced the suspension of the BBC's broadcasts in the local language, Kinyarwanda. The board said it took the action because it has received complaints of incitement, hatred, divisionism, genocide denial and revision from the public.

President Paul Kagame's government, members of parliament and genocide survivors have expressed their anger at the BBC over the recent documentary that suggested the country's president may have had a hand shooting down his predecessor's plane, a crash that triggered the mass killings.

Its hour-long documentary, Rwanda, The Untold Story, also quoted US researchers who suggested that many of the more than 800,000 Rwandans who died in the 1994 genocide may have been ethnic Hutus, and not ethnic Tutsis as the Rwandan government maintains.



Stories of Our Lives...

Kenya's film censor bans gay film

Link Here6th October 2014
Stories of Our Lives is a 2014 Kenya by Jim Chuchu.
Starring Louis Brooke, Allan Bryan Weku and Judy Gichohi. IMDb

The film is a collection of five vignettes about Kenya's LGBT community. It has played on the international film festival circuit.

The Kenya Film Classification has just banned the film with the comment:

The decision to decline approval to the said film was because the film has obscenity, explicit scenes of sexual activities and it promotes homosexuality which, is contrary to our national norms and values.



Extreme Measures...

Gambia outlaws pornography

Link Here29th August 2014
The government of the Gambia has passed a controversial law that imposed extreme penalties for producing and selling pornographic materials.

Under the new legislation, it is an offence to produce, publish, procure, import, export and sell any form of pornography into the West African nation.

The legislation imposes a mandatory fine of not less than D20,000 or a ten-year jail term, or both for anyone guilty of participating in the production, trafficking, and publication of pornography.



Update: Religiously Challenged...

Legal challenge to South Africa's satellite porn package set for court

Link Here7th August 2014
Full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel
A morality and religious campaign group calls itself the Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA).

In 2013 JASA started a legal case opposing the licensing of a satellite package of 3 porn channels by the South African licensing authority ICASA. That case will now be heard in court on 10th August 2014. Jasa claims that:

It is a step too far to introduce pornography to the family TV, which is usually in the only living room in the home. Inevitably children will be aware of it, even if parents attempt to prevent them watching. The 8pm watershed period is absurd because teenage children settle down to watch TV at that time after doing their homework.

As advised by counsel, Jasa alleged that Icasa erred in law in failing to find that the constitutional rights of children were laws of general application, which should have trumped the rights to freedom of expression, Jasa said.

Furthermore, Jasa alleges that Icasa ignored their obligation. .. to consider the moral and spiritual implications of TV channels... .



Not Quite a Whole Sun...

Half of a Yellow Sun unbanned after cuts for release in Nigeria

Link Here10th July 2014
Various Nigerian press outlets are reporting that Biyi Bandele's Half Of A Yellow Sun has finally been cleared by the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board, for local release.

The film is set for release in August. According to the Board's Corporate Affairs representative, Caesar Kagho, the film has been approved with an 18 rating. (Compared with an R rating in the US and a 15 rating in the UK). It is reported that censor cuts had to made to obtain the Nigerian 18 rating.

It was to open in Nigeria, where the film is set, on April 25, but that didn't happen, as its release date was postponed, and has since been delayed, due to delays in getting certification from Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board.

Government censors said that they delayed the release of the film because it might incite violence in the country given its subject matter - specifically, a scene that details a massacre at a northern Nigerian airport - in light of current political turmoil within the country.



Half of a Yellow Sun...

Banned by Nigeria's film censors

Link Here30th April 2014
Half of a Yellow Sun is a 2013 Nigeria/UK drama by Biyi Bandele.
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

In the US the film was rated R for some violence and sexual content. In the UK the film was rated 15 for strong violence and sex.

The most awaited movie of this year in Nigeria, Half of a Yellow Sun , has been banned by the country's film censorship board because the movie partially takes place during the Biafran War.

According to the director, Biyi Bandele, the movie scheduled to open in Nigeria last Friday was essentially banned as the country's film censorship board has refused to issue the movie a certificate.

The movie which is unites some of Nigeria's major cultural figures of civil war (also known as the Biafran War) is already showing in Britain and is scheduled to open in the United States next month.

It also had its premiere last year at the Toronto International Film Festival. And Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who starred in the Academy Award-winning film, 12 Years a Slave , is one of the stars in the movie.

Bandele said officials seemed to be

Jittery about its content. That it deals with the Biafran War (from 1967 to 1970). That it might incite people to violence.

Bandele denounced what he characterized as a blatant attempt to suppress discussion about a crucial if painful episode in Nigeria's coming-of-age:

It is seriously shocking that someone would presume to be this arbiter of what Nigerians want and don't want to see.

Bandele suggested that the war remains largely taboo in the country's classrooms, making his film all the more important as a discussion point.



Update: No Exploration of the Unintended Consequences...

Uganda rethinks porn law as it ends up encouraging vigilante thuggery

Link Here11th March 2014
Full story: Ugandan Ethics Minister...Nutter minister rants about gays and miniskirts
[Note that other reports say that the miniskirt prohibition was actually removed from the bill prior to being passed, but it was discussed as part of the law throughout the period when the bill was being debated.

Around 200 women took to the streets of Uganda's capital  defending their right to wear miniskirts. The demonstration came after the government approved a new law that bans indecent outfits for women.

The BBC reports that the demonstrators, some wearing now-forbidden miniskirts, gathered in Kampala to protest the draconian law, arguing it provides a free pass for sexual harassment and encourages blaming the victim.

The new rule is part of a piece of anti-pornography legislation that lists indecent show ... of sexual parts of a person for primary sexual excitement as a form of pornography, Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor explains. And just in case that sounds confusing, The nutter Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo was on hand to clarify: If your miniskirt falls within the ambit of this definition then I am afraid you will be caught up by the law. Earlier, he added that this includes anything above the knee.

Activists say that since the ban became law there has been an explosion of vigilantes attacking and stripping women who they consider to be dressed inappropriately, according to Daily Monitor. We shall not allow women to pass on the road with skimpy dresses. Undressing them in public is the only way to stop them, one man told the newspaper.

Activist Patience Akumu, from campaign group End Miniskirt Harassment, told Voice of America that the government is letting mobs harass women over their clothing in order to score cheap political points in the conservative society. I think women have become an easy target, a scapegoat for all the problems, she added.



Update: Kenya Recommends...

Kenya's film censor bans The Wolf of Wall Street

Link Here17th January 2014
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has banned the sale, exhibition and distribution of a Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street.

When contacted, the board's communications office said the film has been restricted due to elements that include nudity, sex, alcohol, drugs and profanity.

She said that  the board has the mandate to restrict the distribution of a film if it tends to prejudice the maintenance of public order or offend decency, or the public exhibition or display of which would in its opinion for any other reason be undesirable in the public interest.

The communications office however clarified that the restriction stands for five years and can be reviewed again.



Dangerous Criticism...

Mauritian man falls victim to his country's blasphemy law

Link Here14th January 2014

A young Muslim man in Mauritania is facing a possible death sentence after being convicted of apostasy and jailed for having written an article criticising the religious character Mohammed.

He was arrested and was convicted of lack of respect for the prophet, and jailed, a source said.

The author of the article will be brought before a judge and given the chance to repent but if he refuses, he risks the death penalty, the source added.

In the article, which was published on several Mauritanian websites but later removed, he questioned the decisions taken by Mohammed and his companions during the holy wars. He also accused Mauritanian society of perpetuating a sinful social order and defended those at the bottom rungs of society who he described as marginalised and discriminated against from birth.

It marked the first time an article criticising Islam had been published in Mauritania, where Sharia law applies.

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