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Anti-smoking, rituals regulations not meant to stifle creativity – ED, Censors’ Board

"I cannot be on the Censors Board as an artiste and also suppress creativity.”

I’m telling you today that the regulation is not self-serving. I’m also telling you today that there is nothing anti-creativity about that Regulation, there is nothing about suppression of creativity in that Regulation

IN the wake of furore trailing recent revelations on the new regulations on smoking, tobacco products and money rituals, and ritual killings in movies and allied media contents, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has said the provisions were not meant to stifle creativity in media contents.

Executive secretary/CEO  of the Board, Dr Shaibu Husseini reiterated this in Lagos on Sunday, June 3, 2024, at a parley with editors and other senior journalists.

Husseini, a media scholar and teacher himself, explained that the regulations permit producers to, where absolutely necessary, depict smoking scenes in movies, music videos, and skits, especially for reasons of artistic expression and historical accuracy.

However, said Husseini, such scenes must neither glamourise tobacco or tobacco products nor have been sponsored by the tobacco industry.

On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at an event in Enugu, the NFVCB DG disclosed that the Minister of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, had approved the “Prohibition of Money Ritual, Ritual Killing, Tobacco, Tobacco Product, Nicotine Product Promotion, Glamorization, Display in Movies, Musical Videos and Skits” Regulations 2024.

Dr Husseini, ED, NFVC B at the National Staeholders’ Engagement in Enugu 

The event was at a National Stakeholders’ Engagement on the “Smoke-Free Nollywood” campaign organised in collaboration with Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA). The Regulations 2024 is now awaiting gazetting by the Federal Government.

He said: “I really need us to understand this: I did not ban smoking scenes. I did not ban ritual scenes. There are aspects of our culture that you need to display. But what we are saying is that if you have to display these necessary scenes, for historical accuracy, for educational purposes and, of course, to correct a negative lifestyle, you must warn people that these things are not real, that it is not a lifestyle to emulate.

“I’m telling you today that the regulation is not self-serving. I’m also telling you today that there is nothing anti-creativity about that Regulation, there is nothing about suppression of creativity in that Regulation.”

Husseini said that as a performing artiste, himself, he “cannot be on the Censors Board as an artiste and also suppress creativity.”

The Censors boss disclosed that work was in progress to change the National Film and Video Censors Board to a National Film and Video “Classification” Board.

He added: “I commit to a Censors Board that will move completely from censorship to classification. I commit to a Censors Board that will move from the present analogue stage of classification to a digitised stage. I commit to a Censors Board that will commit itself to be responsive to society and responsive to stakeholders and, of course, the Federal Government that set it up.”

He commended CAPPA for supporting the NFVCB.

Akinbode Oluwafmi, Executive Director, CAPPA

CAPPA’s Executive Director Akinbode Oluwafemi emphasised the importance of the National Stakeholders Engagement in Enugu, referencing the unveiling of the Regulations 2024 and the Code of Practice, voluntarily signed by no fewer than 51 Nollywood stakeholders.

Oluwafemi said: “One very important thing happened in Enugu that was not given wide publicity. There was also another document called the Code of Practice. The Code of Practice is intended as a voluntary commitment by movie stakeholders to say ‘We are pledging that we will comply with the intent and spirit of Smoke-Free Nollywood.

“I’m happy to report to you that at that event about 51 major movie practitioners and associations in Nigeria signed that Code of Practice and we have their signatures documented. It included all the professional bodies in the movie industry. They were all in the room and pledged commitment to the Regulations.”

In-Country Coordinator of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Michael Olaniyan, noted that the Regulations contain exceptions that allow the depiction of smoking in movies, but such movies must have health warnings.

 * https://x.com/i/status/1793634169656070492

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