BPM 33 – Dj Simplesimon
Netflix Finally Available in Kenya!

Netflix Finally Available in Kenya!

Friday, 29 January 2016
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California based internet TV service ‘Netflix’, is now available in 190 countries that includes Russia, Poland, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya. Anyone with internet, be it on their mobile phones or on their homes, rushed to sign up the the service that was offering a free month to all new subscribers. Kenyans were happy to have on-the-go access to their series and movies at just the click of a button. There were those that were quick to point out that the entire Netflix library of content was not available to Kenya just yet. Satellite TV providers scrambled, and started putting out adverts that read like a pro’s and cons list between the almighty Netflix and their bouquets. At the end of the day the argument boiled down to the price difference in services. Enter the Kenya Film Censorship Board.

The KFCB is taking a hard stance against Netflix (the company), stating that the internet TV provider distributes “immoral content and is a threat to national security”. Before we poke that beehive, the regulatory body also stated the the content rating of shows and films available on Netflix does not comply with Kenya’s standards. They made reference to shows such as Narcos (based on the life of Colombian drug Kingpin Pablo Escobar), the oscar-snubbed film Beasts Of No Nation and romance flick, Room In Rome, saying the current rating on all those productions is non compliant with Kenyan standards.

What is interesting to note is that the ministry of information classes Netflix as an OTT (Over The Top) service provider. Other services that are currently freely enjoyed in Kenya that fall under the same banner are Youtube, Facebook and Whatsapp, to name a few. So its’ a little curious as to why the censorship body had responded in such an aggressive manner to Netflix now making its services available in Kenya (and 189 other countries in the world) when these other online services seem to have been operating without much hassle for some years now.

If the argument for stricter regulations is based on “immoral content” then one has to wonder how shows about socialites ever made it on to terrestrial TV that has a much wider reach. If the powers that be are so concerned about content that “promotes irresponsible sexual behaviour, illegal activity and the likes” then one doesn’t have to go as far as an American company creating fictional material. The evening news and countless blogs owned, operated and curated in Kenya have enough of that.

We are yet to know the outcome of this developing story, ironically enough, playing out like a TV show in itself. It is interesting to note thought that one of the biggest internet service providers on Indonesia had blocked Netflix on its platform over violent and adult content. The service is however still available in the country to anyone else using a different ISP. Go figure.

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