The Kenya Film Classification Board Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, currently serving as the country’s official custos morum, has the world’s hardest job, that of Parental Guidance. Now, that was so 1648 up until digital virtual ‘livecast’ technowledge launched.
Mutua, a well trained communications expert is on an all time highest point in his career path. The fervent moral crusader is succeeding at it again, at KFCB. This moral obligation of ‘policing’ media content (including wedding shows and Melanin) that broadcasts on Kenya’s digital space is enshrined in the Kenya Information and Communications Act (section 46), and related legislation.
His use of phrases like ‘watershed’ to describe the timeline with which broadcasters are free to air profanity in the era of 24-hour is, however, unabashedly archaic.
Time and distance, or should we say geography, are now obsolete in the era of virtual ‘livecast’ television. As @NTVKenya’s @LarryMadowo once said and as is quoted in the @Guardian, “geographies in the traditional sense that media networks saw them no longer exist – they’ve entirely collapsed.”
In the era of virtual live stream, watershed period is a little yesterday. The obsolete thinking about airing specific programmes at a specified time of the day lost the battle to digital virtual ‘livecast’ technowledge.
In fact, live streaming of digital content has made time zones in the traditional sense irrelevant. For instance, 1900hrs GMT+3:00 in Nairobi is watershed, but is just about prime time in the westernmost city of the Old World, Dakar, Senegal. So what is defined for Kenya’s digital audience as watershed episode in Nairobi is elsewhere prime time for a virtual livecast Kenyan ‘stream-er’ in a borderless digital rather virtual world.
Worse still is when KFCB defines watershed without policing the virtual time zones. How possible? It’s not like all Kenyan digital audience do run 8am to 5pm schedule ready to beat the ubiquitous traffic snarl-up readying for prime time, then watershed where pecking is formalized. The world, now literally 24, moved, especially here in Nairobi. As one viewer is switching to KFCB’s watershed, another is just about to get in for a two-hour lecture in a fifth floor-based down town college. So, one’s watershed is another’s prime time!
Worse still, isn’t a little poison equally harmful in the watershed as it is in prime time? If profanity is immoral in prime time, isn’t it equally wicked in watershed?
Thus, in the digital virtual world where technowledge has collapsed time zones, watershed, or safe harbour as is elsewhere defined, may only be confined to the KFCB time zone somewhere in the 15th floor of Uchumi House, Nairobi. And so, could virtual time zones help Kenya’s custos morum (read Ezekiel Mutua) implement the watershed broadcast policing? Only technowledge will tell.