“Hands-on” techniques advocated for film censorship in Jos

Many African countries have been observed to be experiencing a surge in their movie industries drawing on the pioneering movie-making revolution of the Nigerian industry commonly called Nolywood.

The observation was made during the opening of a 2 days’ International Conference on Film Censorship (ICFC) 2017, by Director-General of the industry, Mrs Patricia Bala, in Jos, on Tuesday, with a theme, “Leveraging on Institutional Collaboration/Models for Improved Standards and Social Inclusion in an Open Society.”

Participants at the International Conference on Film Censorship 2017 in Jos, on Tuesday

Mrs. Bala said that the conference was borne out of the need to understand and accommodate new preceptors as well as build and reform existing Movie Censorship methods and procedures in line with contemporary global dynamics.

She explained further that, the main objective was to explore ways to deploy “hands-on” techniques to improve Movie Censorship criteria and Classification Standards in Nigeria, both as cultural product and an enterprise, which by so doing will help the project in the country’s identity as well as in line with global practices.

She attributed key focus of the conference as gateway to achieveing perspective and practical understanding to improved Censorship Classification models to protect and project basic forms, values and belief systems, while making room for more comprehensive and appropriate decisions on Nigerian movies.

According to the D-G, some of the objectives of the conference include, “Develop a template to review and reform the criteria for Movie Censorship/Classification in Nigeria; Project and deepen the core values, norms and believe systems of the society through movie censorship and classification and gain new perspectives and understanding of comparative practices, in order to build capacity of the young and vulnerable from harmful consequences of wholesome and dysfunction movies.”

The D-G further stated that, “talking about Censorship and Classification, there is the need to emphasize that it is not a sprint race for that matter, it’s a race of any sort; no, every country and society is on this race, on its own terms, in accordance with its own conditions and experiences and, surely, in conformity with its values.

“In one country, ethnic differences may be a touchy issue; in another, it may be religious and, yet, another it may be social,” adding that, “no society has the right to dictate to another what should inform its censorship criteria,” she stated.

According to her, censorship authorities in developing societies often have to work a tight rope, on one hand, and they have to protect the society from harmful cinematic portrayals, which on the other hand are contradictory, in that these have to promote expression.

She said, the conference will also examine ways they can pull off the ‘balancing act’ successfully, adding that, today Nigerian Nolywood Film Industry, which started out on the Home Video platform, has been re-invented as the new Nolywood of the big screen, corresponding the expertise, adding that, “we, at the NFVCB gathered, while censoring foreign Cinema Films has come in handy in the new Nolywood Renaissance.”

The conference is expected to look into key features, which include high-level engagement with policy drivers/influencers, constructive interactions and parley among industry players, international participation by major movie producing nations, resourceful presentations, Technical Master Classes and industry and regulatory policy briefings.

She said, “The conference is not to force any rating on nations but hopes to find common grounds for rating standardization of African Movies with proper understanding of individual cultures.”


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