The NFVCB tells Netflix and other streaming media companies not to allow uncensored films on their platforms
The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) Executive Director/CEO, Alh. Adedayo Thomas, has urged Netflix and other subscription streaming media to not accept Nigerian films that have not been censored and approved by the board on their platforms.
The charge was made by the NFVCB chairman during an “Industry Conversation Session” with Netflix at a two-day conference organized by the board on December 1 and 2 in Ikeja, Lagos State, with the theme “Nigeria Digital Content Regulation.”
Members of the various guilds in Nollywood, local and international streaming media, Free To Air (FTA) service providers, pay TV operators, and other content creators attended the conference to brainstorm on creating policies that will regulate streamers and content providers in Nigeria.
“There is a need to give digital content consumption form, structure, balance, and protection,” Thomas says, “so as not to lose the current value and forecast.”
He stated that while the Federal Government encourages and supports citizens’ creativity and intellectual property, it frowns on immoral and other unwholesome content that jeopardizes the Nigerian people’s sanity, values, peace, and security.
As a result, he urged Netflix and other streaming media platforms doing or planning to do business in the Nigerian film industry ecosystem to accept films with proof of censorship and approval by the censor board going forward. For anywhere
in the world where you want to do business, you must first inquire about the laws of the land, so let them inquire about censorship certificates from any filmmakers before they acquire a film. Because a Nigerian film is first and foremost a Nigerian product, anyone interested in purchasing it should inquire as to whether it has been approved by the appropriate authorities.
“They can verify the authenticity of a certificate bearing our name from us within 24 hours if a film owner offers it to them.”
“At the National Film and Video Censors Board, we are deeply concerned about the current trend in the digital film space, which the government is finding increasingly difficult to organize.”
As a country, we are bound by laws, and it is preferable for industry players to follow a defined code of conduct and be subject to the internal laws of the operating geographical space rather than rely on self-regulation, which is currently available.
“We are also concerned about our national values and consumer protection, and we feel compelled to develop policies to address these issues.”
“The NFVCB Act gives us the authority to ensure that films and video works, among other things, do not glorify the use of violence, are not harmful to minors, are not discriminatory, are not sexually explicit, are not likely to undermine national security, or encourage illegal or criminal acts,” he said.
According to Thomas, the shift from traditional to digital content consumption as well as the operations of national and international OTT streaming services have continued to have an impact on the growth of Nigeria’s local film industry.
“The board’s inability to regulate the digital space over time does not take away the statutory powers conferred on it by the law,” he continued.
As the Federal Government of Nigeria continued to promote ease of doing business, the NFVCB boss noted that the digital content market would not survive on self-regulation, and thus the need to subject its operations to effective statutory regulatory oversight.
As a result, he cited relevant sections of the law that give the NFVCB the authority to carry out its duties, saying, “May I quickly put to rest the reservations expressed in some quarters about whether we have the right to regulate digital content in the first instance.”
Section 25 subsection 1 of the NFVCB Act, which empowers the board to carry out its functions, as well as Sections 25 subsection (3) and 28 subsection (1), which confirm that no film may be distributed unless it has been registered and approved by the board. Section 20 subsection (1) of the NFVCB Regulations, 2008.
Any series of visual images, with or without sound, produced electronically and shown as a moving picture is considered a video work in this context.