Film Association of Malawi (Fama) has hit back on government’s press statement on regulation of films in Malawi, saying government should first put the laws that encompass film productions in order.
Fama acting president Ezaius Mkandawire made the remarks on Saturday when asked to give his view on film regulation in Malawi.
Mkandawire said he respects the powers vested in the Censorship Board on film regulation, but says the powers are now irrelevant until the Censorship Act is reviewed.
He says there are a lot of contradictions between different laws that also guide any media production in the country. Mkandawire says any person has the right to freedom of expression as provided in the Constitution of Malawi and says filmmaking is one of the branches where it should be enjoyed.
“If you consider the provisions under the Constitution, you will find out that we have the right to do so. However, on the other hand, the Censorship Board wants to regulate that. We have no problem on that, but the question is that how should they regulate.
“I do not agree with the procedure of submitting a script to Censorship Board. Their duty should start after one has produced the material. The role of who sees the script and other materials should fall under the Ministry of Labour. So, it should be noted that there is a conflict on who should do this and that. I would love if government comes out clear on this,” says Mkandawire, adding that one can obey the Constitution and violate provisions in the Censorship Board.
He says this confusion can only be solved if government reviews the Censorship Act and make it relevant to other laws in other legal documents.
Mkandawire also advised government to consider change in technology embraced recently and make its laws relevant to the times. He says there is now Internet and people can use phones and other facilities to record a movie on the street, church and funeral and one cannot wait to seek permission.
However, National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) president Ian Chitsekula said he has hope in the Film and Stage Play Classification Policy which has just been reviewed and waits to be tabled in Parliament.
“I believe if the Classification Policy is passed in Parliament, it will help us in controlling our productions and I think there would be no conflict with the Censorship Act,” he said, adding that review of the act is very important.