It’s hard to imagine that when Netflix had the idea to expand it’s reach to cover Africa, they were without some doubts on the entire concept. When they however settled on the plan to roll out their services and content to all of Africa, they must have to a great extent, satisfactorily answered most of those questions. The question that seems to linger now is if Africa’s moral “up-tightness” featured in their earlier considerations.
When Kenya’s film censorship board accused the streaming giant of launching an attack on their morality (not their words), they had actually said that their country could not afford to be; “a passive recipient of foreign content that could corrupt the moral values of our children”, it had seemed to many onlookers, Kenyans included, that they were overreacting. South Africa though has joined in the battle against Netflix’s unregulated arrival on the continent.
The South African Film and Publication Board (FPB) has given Netflix two weeks to comply with set up local regulations or face sanctions, the declaration came with the issue of licensing fees that have still not been paid. Their hangup is that the content that Netflix broadcasts in South Africa is not classified by the Film and Publication Board. Rival media outfits like the Naspers video-on-demand ShowMax however, contains shows and adheres to the FPB classification system for South Africa for its own content. Netflix uses a broader and more general classification system.
Sipho Risibia the FPB chief operating officer (COO) was quoted by the Standard as saying; “Our values are different from the American values and their 16-year-old is not necessarily our 16-year-old and that’s why they must re-rate the films in conformity with our standards”.