IS THE CENSORSHIP BOARD FUNCTIONAL?

THE news that the Preview and Classification Committee of the Ghana Cinematography Board has decided to suspend its work over non-payment of members’ allowances must have come as a surprise to most Ghanaians.

It is not that the public does not expect them to draw allowances for work done, but rather because very few people are aware that this committee is still operational, in view of the nature of movies being churned out in the country.

The Ghana Cinematography Board was established by the Cinematography Act – 1961 (Act 76) to, among other things, regulate and control the contents of the movies and their accompanying posters and inlays intended.

Indeed, Section 6(1) states that, “no person shall exhibit or present an exhibition of, or allow to be presented or exhibited, any film unless the film has been passed for exhibition”.

That aimed at ensuring acceptable standards in the movie industry, and checking the production of unethical films.

Every nation has its cultural heritage to protect, and the board was expected to play a gate keeping role to stop movies which insult the people’s sensibilities through excessive nudity, obscenity and use of vulgar or profane languages which are alien to our culture.

The board woefully failed to perform its role, leading to our markets being flooded with such negative movies, and plain pornography.

Following public outcry about its inability to stop the objectionable materials being shown on our television screens as well as cinemas, the board was dissolved in 2010, and a new 26-member Cinematography Exhibition Board was appointed by then Minister of Information, John Tia Akologu.

Under the new board, the Preview and Classification Committee was set up to specifically handle the censorship aspect of their duties.  This was done in the hope that this time, the nation would see some sanity being brought into the industry.

Sadly, however, this hope has fizzled out as the situation has worsened.  We are witnessing the exhibition of extreme nudity of all proportions, and unbridled obscenity in our movies.

That explains why most Ghanaians would be surprised the committee is still functional.  It is as if it does not exist at all.

The Times advises the members that while fighting for their due, they should also know that the nation expects them to efficiently discharge their responsibility.

The Censorship Committee must not only exist in name, but also in deed.

 

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