Censorship

Who in the world heads the Nigerian video censors board? I ask because something’s totally off about what they permit in the cinemas. For who in the world would ban Half of a Yellow Sun (for reasons best known to them) but let Fifty Shades of Grey go scot free without even a squeak? Or did I miss something and I’m wrong in the information reaching me?

I’ve been called naive, clueless and much more but on this matter I’m totally befuddled! Why in the world would you let a movie with such ‘questionable’ content be released to the viewing public? Yes I believe in freedom of choice and all but the censors board was inaugurated for a reason and to perform a particular function. Or is there something I’m missing, because I don’t understand…

Don’t get me wrong, anyone is free to watch what they want, how they want and I guess where they want it too. The ramblings and incoherent rhetorical balderdash spouted during the censoring of Half of a Yellow Sun still amazes me. After the entire world was done with watching HOAYS, Nigerians were eventually permitted to see it in cinemas nationwide.

So back to my original question, why give fiat to Fifty Shades but stymie HOAYS? It must be the case of a prophet being despised in his own country and maybe this was the case with the Chimamanda Adichie novel based movie. The Fifty Shades trailer is somewhat tame I’ll concur, especially when compared to the subject matter of the E.L. James book. Must it be out rightly obscene before the NVCB bans or outlaws a movie?

Just like when HOAYS was banned people (Nigerians I mean) found a way to watch it and so it was stale news when it was eventually released to the cinemas across the country. The same thing will happen if Fifty Shades of Grey is banned, after all those that have read the three-part novel live amongst us and where there’s a will there’s certainly a way. So even if it’s not banned those that will watch it will and those that won’t…won’t. So why am I going on about it then (I hear you ask), it’s the principle of the thing folks.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and if the laid down guidelines isolate certain materials because of inherent characteristics for restrictions then alright. My understanding is that the board has criteria it adheres to in matters like this and eventual judgement is not left to sentiment or personal prejudice. There should also not be the ability or a predilection to mangle the laid down process either.

Another question springs to mind, the rules, guidelines guiding the censors board should not be only preventive (i.e. restricting a film deemed inappropriate) but also proactive. At least if the ultimate aim is to protect the society and the vulnerable in it, then a policy that seeks ways of doing this rather should be constituted. Instead of waiting for the shoe to drop, it is possible to find a way to stop it from falling and not clean up the fallout from the act.

I know some will wonder why the ranting about censoring and movies in today’s column but when I thought about how easily some movies make the cut and others get shafted I just had to vent. It just happened to be two movies based on novels written by women, a Nigerian and the other an American. It’s ironic that some conditions were just fulfilled or happened in this case. Those that will lambast me for being prejudicial about Fifty Shades will have their say but I’m also free to express myself and use my freedom as I deem fit. What beliefs have you stood up for lately?

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