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Africa Censorship News


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Updated: Much some...

Banned Moroccan film shown at Tunis film festival with tight security over fears of violence

Link Here29th November 2015
Much Loved is a 2015 Morocco drama by Nabil Ayouch.
Starring Loubna Abidar, Danny Boushebel and Abdellah Didane. IMDb

A group of women in Morocco make a living as prostitutes in a culture that is very unforgiving toward women in that profession.

The star of a banned film on sex work in Morocco was savagely beaten in Casablanca last week, sparking an outcry on social media over social taboos that activists say can be enforced by violence.

Loubna Abidar, who portrays a Marrakech sex worker in Much Loved , a film by renowned French-Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch that caused a stir in Morocco when a series of previews were released on YouTube, said police and hospital workers refused to help her. Instead they humiliated her, she said:

No [police officer] and no doctor would take care of me. Everyone mocked me and said, 'Finally, Abidar! You got beaten.

In a self-recorded video shared widely on social media this week, a bruised and bloodied Ms Abidar describes the ordeal, without offering much detail on the assailants.

Update: Banned film screened at Tunis film festival

29th November 2015. See  article from

A controversial film portraying prostitution in Morocco that was shunned in the Arab world has finally been shown, amid tight security, at the Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia. Fears of an attack by militants saw armed police and steel barriers around the cinema and each cinemagoer searched for weapons. 

Director Nabil Ayouch's Much Loved portrays the lives of four upmarket prostitutes working for tourists and wealthy clients in Marrakech was made on a shoestring, using unknown actors and a mostly female crew.

The film,  has provoked a storm of 'outrage' and violence. Ayouch and the cast had death threats, and the Moroccan government formally banned the film, accusing the direc- tor of staining the country's reputation. In June, the film was praised at the Toronto film festival for its unflinching appraisal of the lives of women on the margins of society, but at home a pressure group filed a lawsuit against the director. Actor Yousseff El-Idrissi, who plays a rich client in the film, told of being attacked by knife-wielding thugs.



Offsite Article: Tunisia Musicians confronted with censorship and repression...

Link Here 11th November 2015
Tunisia's urban rappers have borne the brunt of the state's censorship and repression. A wide legal arsenal has been used to throw musicians unceremoniously into jail. By Daniel Brown

See article from



Update: Censoring ALL Internet Content...

South Africa continues plans for the film censors to vet all uploaded internet content with the ISPs now being forced to act as enforcers

Link Here14th August 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
Mobile operators and ISPs could have their licences revoked if they fail to comply with new censorship legislation being developed to govern online content in South Africa.

In a statement, the cabinet said it had approved the submission of the Films and Publications Amendment Bill to parliament. The amendments to the Films and Publications Act of 1996 provide for:

Technological advances, especially online and social media platforms, in order to protect children from being exposed to disturbing and harmful media content in all platforms, physical and online.

Of particular concern to ISPs and telecommunications providers will be the cabinet's declaration that the companies must:

Protect the public and children during usage of their services and Icasa will not issue licences or renewals without confirmation from the Film and Publication Board (FPB) of full compliance with its legislation.

The online regulation policy proposed by government will require all individuals and organisations who upload digital content to first register with the FPB, pay a fee prescribed by the minister of communications, and either submit the content to the board for classification or self-classify in accordance with the board's classification guidelines.

Anyone who does not comply with the policy is liable to pay a fine or face a prison term of up to six months.



A history of censorship...

Zimbabwe's censor board bans photography exhibition highlighting the historic topless culture in Africa

Link Here26th June 2015
Zimbabwe's Censorship Board has banned a photograohy exhibition by Crispen Nldovu.

The exhibition celebrated historical African culture when women used to go about their lives topless. It was also intended to support breast cancer awareness month.

Ndlovu formally wrote to the censors in June seeking clearance for the exhibition at the Bulawayo National Art Gallery.

But, in a letter to Ndlovu, the censors said the exhibition had been banned and prohibited in the country. Issac Chiranganyika, the board's acting secretary said:

Please be advised that the Board was convened to consider your application and recommended that the exhibition be banned and prohibited in Zimbabwe for the showing of bare breasts in Zimbabwe.

In an interview with, Ndlovu said:

This is a political move that is meant to silence people who are not in favour of the government of the day.



Update: Much Censored...

Morocco prosecutes director and actress of film about the country's sex workers

Link Here25th June 2015
Nabil Ayouch's film about sex workers in Morocco has already been banned by the country's film censors, but now the authorities have summoned the filmmakers to court on charges of supposed pornography, indecency and inciting minors to debauchery.

The film, Much Loved (Zin Li Fik), which lifts the lid on the Moroccan sex industry is directed by Nabil Ayouch and stars  Loubna Abidar, who plays a prostitute. Now both have been asked to defend the allegedly immoral content of the movie before a court in Marrakech next month, according to reports from the Moroccan press .

Their decision to ban the film was based on two clips leaked on the internet, one of which showed three sex workers in a car speaking about their clients, with one saying she hoped to get a Saudi Arabian man who is good looking, nice and has a small penis .

The film also depicts a fumble in a parked van, a failed attempt to achieve an erection, which results in violence, and other scenes of violent sex. An actor playing a homeless boy is also depicted admitting that European men regularly abuse him for sex at 5 a time.

Abidar has received death threats for starring as a prostitute in the film. The actress wrote on her Facebook page that she had received an anonymous call to her home phone from an unknown person threatening to kill her. She has appeared on Moroccan radio to defend her part in the film, saying she was only playing the role of many prostitutes that exist in Morocco .

The film is currently being shown at the 33rd Munich Film Festival.



Morocco Recommends...

Much Loved by Nabil Ayouch banned for 'grave outrage against moral values'

Link Here27th May 2015
Much Loved is a 2015 Morocco drama by Nabil Ayouch.
Starring Loubna Abidar, Danny Boushebel and Abdellah Didane. IMDb

A group of women in Morocco make a living as prostitutes in a culture that is very unforgiving toward women in that profession.

Franco-Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch said he was shocked after Morocco banned his movie Much Loved about prostitution, following its screening at Cannes. Ayouch said:

I'm shocked and surprised by this ban. I don't understand that my film can be banned when we haven't yet applied for a permit for it to be shown.

Prostitution is all around us, and instead of refusing to see it we should try to understand how women who have had difficult lives end up this way.

Much Loved focuses on the problem of prostitution in Morocco through the eyes of four women.

Clips released over the past few days have caused 'outrage' in Morocco against the director and his principal actress, Loubna Abidar.

The government announced that it would not be screened, claiming it to be a grave outrage against moral values and Moroccan womanhood , and a flagrant attack on the kingdom's image .

In a statement, the ministry of communications said the decision to ban the film had been taken after a team from the state-run Moroccan Cinema Centre saw it at an international festival , a clear reference to Cannes.



Update: Nasty Ethics...

Ugandan pop star persecuted for sexy music video on YouTube

Link Here26th May 2015
A Ugandan pop singer Jemimah Kansiime, 21, is being persecuted under Uganda's Anti-Pornography Law for a sexy music video on YouTube.

She has already spent five weeks in jail on charges of producing and promoting pornography. In Nkulinze (I am waiting for you) , the song for which she was arrested, she repeatedly adjusts her blue pushup bra - a clip the vindictive 'Ethics' Minister and former Catholic priest Simon Lokodo considers vulgar and obscene . Lokodo is a nasty piece of work who also advocates killing people for being gay.

Kansiime who performs as Panadol Wa'basajja, told AFP:

I was aware that there are some sections of society that are conservative I was just experimenting to see if I put on a short dress, will the audience like it?

Kansiime soaped her thong-clad behind, and attracted more than 400,000 viewers on YouTube.

Her attorneys have asked a magistrate's court in Kampala to suspend criminal proceedings until a legal challenge to the Anti-Pornography Act is ruled on by the country's constitutional court. The lower court is set to decide on the stay of proceedings on 9 July.

Activists are challenging the constitutionality of the anti-porn bill on the grounds that it is too broad and too vague. The law defines porn as:

Any representation, through publication, exhibition, cinematography, indecent show, information technology or by whatever means, of a person engaged in real or stimulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a person for primarily sexual excitement.

Critics of the anti-porn bill say it is evidence that Uganda, the only predominantly Roman Catholic country in Africa, is under growing conservative influence driven by Christian churches, including hundreds of evangelical churches that have sprung up in recent years.



Update: Worse than even ATVOD...

Africa's Worst New Internet Censorship Law Could be Coming to South Africa

Link Here22nd May 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
Only once in a while does an Internet censorship law or regulation come along that is so audacious in its scope, so misguided in its premises, and so poorly thought out in its execution, that you have to check your calendar to make sure April 1 hasn't come around again. The Draft Online Regulation Policy recently issued by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) of South Africa is such a regulation. It's as if the fabled prude Mrs. Grundy had been brought forward from the 18 th century, stumbled across on her first excursion online, and promptly cobbled together a law to shut the Internet down. Yes, it's that bad.

First, the regulation applies, in the first instance, to films and games (regardless of subject matter), as well as to publications containing certain loosely-described forms of sex, violence and hate speech. As to these types of content:

5.1.1 Any person who intends to distribute any film, game, or certain publication in the Republic of South Africa shall first comply with section 18(1) of the Act by applying, in the prescribed manner, for registration as film or game and publications distributor.

5.1.2 In the event that such film, game or publication is in a digital form or format intended for distribution online using the internet or other mobile platforms, the distributor may bring an application to the Board for the conclusion of an online distribution agreement, in terms of which the distributor, upon payment of the fee prescribed from time to time by the Minister of DOC as the Executive Authority, may classify its online content on behalf of the Board, using the Board's classification Guidelines and the Act ...

If you are a video blogger creating films from your basement, the prospect of FPB officers knocking on your door to classify your videos probably isn't that appealing. So, being the forward-thinkers that they are, without actually providing an exception for user-generated content (or a sensible definition of it), the FPB provides an alternative system which places the burden of classifying such content onto Internet intermediaries:

7.5 In the event that such content is a video clip on YouTube or any other global digital media platform, the Board may of its own accord refer such video clip to the Classification Committee of the Board for classification.

7.7 Upon classification, the Board shall dispatch a copy of the classification decision and an invoice payable by the online distributor within 30 days, in respect of the classification of the content in question.

A few definitions are in order here: an "online distributor" could be a South African ISP, which might have no connection with the "global digital media platform" that actually hosts the content. Nonetheless, the ISP is assumed to have the capacity to take down the original video, and to upload a new, classified, version containing the FPB's logo:

7.10 The online distributor shall, from the date of being notified by the Board in writing of the classification decision, take down the unclassified video clip, substitute the same with the one that has been classified by the Board, and display the Film and Publication Board Logo and classification decision as illustrated in clause 5.1.6.

Oh, but it gets worse. Since classification rules already apply to offline films, games and proscribed publications, the regulation purports to be doing nothing more than to be extending the classification scheme to online versions of those materials, so that anyone distributing them over the Internet also has to obtain a license to do so. But then there's this:

7.4 With regard to any other content distributed online, the Board shall have the power to order an administrator of any online platform to take down any content that the Board may deem to be potentially harmful and disturbing to children of certain ages.

That's right, any online platform can be ordered to take down any content distributed online that the Board may deem to be potentially harmful and disturbing . Traditional publishers are subject to no such sweeping, extrajudicial censorship power.

South Africa is one of Africa's largest and fastest growing economies, and for it to adopt such an extreme preemptive Internet censorship regulation would be a serious setback for South Africa's burgeoning online industry, as well as, needless to say, a serious blow to human rights. If you are South African, or have any friends or colleagues who are, please take action by signing the Right to Know petition, and spreading the word about this looming threat.



Update: Hard Done...

South African court refuses appeal against decision requiring TV censor to reconsider licence granted to porn service

Link Here31st March 2015
Full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel
South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed a petition by On Digital Media (ODM) for leave to appeal a Western Cape High Court judgment that Icasa re-consider its decision to licence ODM's porn channels.

The court dismissed the petition on March 17, as there was no reasonable prospect of success.

On December 10 last year, the Western Cape High Court upheld an order to remit a decision on the licensing of the three porn pay channels back to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).



Update: Internet Bounty Hunters...

South Africa looks to its film censors to wander the internet looking for things to ban and to invoice their victims for censorship 'services'

Link Here21st March 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
South Africa's Film and Publications Board (FPB) is expecting to be granted the power to order an administrator of any online platform to take down any content that the Board may deem to be potentially harmful and disturbing to children of certain ages.

The censors have generated a 14-page set of draft rules for online content that would, in theory, have given it the power to order Wikipedia et al to remove images, and then send them an invoice for the cost of doing so.

For Video on Demand services, the board has proposed co-cesnorship, which will allow each streaming provider to classify its own content with an in-house team of people after they are trained, for no more than five days, by the FPB.

By June 2016, everything such streaming providers make available to South African audiences must be rated. That may prove a challenge for in-house teams too, so the FPB draft regulations make another concession -- content classified under another system can be deemed classified by the FPB, if the regimes are sufficiently similar. In practice, a 13 (language) or 16 (nudity) classification imposed by regulators in the US or Europe will be accepted for South African use.

The censors look set to become very nasty about what the board describes as self-generated content. This, the draft rules say, could include a drawing, picture, illustration or painting; recording or any other message or communication, including a visual presentation, placed on any distribution network including, but not confined to, the internet .

Streaming services will be responsible for their own classification expenses, and those who distribute self-generated content can expect an invoice from the FPB once it has decided to classify such content of its own accord. So it appears that finding harmful content is the driver behind an expected eight-fold increase in the money the FPB says it will need to police the online space.

This week the department of communications, under which the FPB falls, published its budget forecasts. In the last financial year, the budget shows, the FPB spent under R1-million for online and mobile content regulation . By 2016 that is expected to increase to R8.2-million.

The department of state security is expected to release, within weeks, a first draft of the Cybercrimes and Related Matters Bill. That law is being drafted behind closed doors, but is understood to be a clear victory for the state security department over the department of telecommunications and the department of communications.



Update: A nice little earner...

South African censors propose law requiring publishers of internet videos, pictures, posts etc, to pay for censorship and then wait 10 days before being able to upload

Link Here11th March 2015
Online videos, pictures, posts and other content may soon find itself censored in South Africa. This is if the Film and Publications Board has its way in implementing its online censorshop policy aimed at intermet content distributed in South Africa.

The draft policy, gazetted for public comment, requires distributors to have digital content classified in terms of the board's guidelines. Producers of content would have to apply for classification before their content would be made available online.

A prescribed fee from R450 (25) will be imposed upon applying for an online distribution agreement, with an expected turnaround time of 10 days for classification.

The FPB claimed it was concerned about children being exposed to unclassified content accessed through the internet and other mobile platforms.

Chief censor Sipho Risiba said distribution channels also had the responsibility to look out for unclassified content which may have any of the flagged elements guiding the board. He added that user-generated content was a problem leading to the prevalence of offensive content such as racism, sexual, school violence videos and posts that may entice imitative acts. He claimed:

Distributors and internet service providers were not yet playing their part in warding off sex offenders and racists from their platforms.

The board will go on a national public consultation road show between April and May to allow the public to give inputs on the policy.



Sensitive Content...

Gay kiss on Angola TV winds up a few locals

Link Here8th February 2015
Angola flagAn Angolan TV production company made a public apology after a gay kiss aired on television prompted howls of criticism in a country where homosexuality remains taboo.

Semba Comunicacao company said: We offer our sincere apologies to those who felt offended. The production company promised to make corrections in the presentation of sensitive content .

The grovelling apology came after an episode of the popular Jikulumessu drama series shown late last month showed two men kissing.

The gay kiss aired after the main evening news in a nation where homosexuality remains a taboo subject, though not illegal. An unspecified number of whinges were posted on social media.

The show's creator and Semba Comunicacao head, Jose Paulino dos Santos, denounced the move, on his Facebook account, as an act of censorship .



Updated: Childish Reasons...

Morocco film censor confirms the ban on the Biblical epic, Exodus

Link Here7th January 2015
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.

Morocco's Reviewing Commission has confirmed the ban of the Hollywood film, Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Minister of Communication, Mustafa El Khalfi, tweeted that he welcomes the commitment of the Director of the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre (CCM) to respect the law and that the decision taken by the Commission does not breech the freedom of artistic creation guaranteed by the Constitution.

The minister said he supported the decision banning the film because it portrays God. However, God is not shown explicitly at any stage in Exodus. The portrayal of God is only an interpretation of the scene in which a child delivers messages to Moses.

CCM director and film censor Sarim Fassi Fihri said that the film approval Commission, the Ministry of Culture, the owners of cinemas and film distributors, and the Cinematographic Center, had all seen the film and had reservations about a scene which depicts God as a child during the period of revelation to Moses.

Update: Unbanned in Morocco

7th January 2015. See  article from

Morocco's movie organization has now announced that the film will be shown in Morocco after Fox Studio agreed to cut sections deemed supposedly sacrilegious to Islam.

The center's statement said that Scott and Fox Studios agreed to remove two lines of dialogue that referred to the personnification of the Divine.

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