The PANAF chapter in Uganda wishes to condemn the unrelenting selective classification of films in Uganda. This act is contrary to the Press & Journalist Act, Cap 105, which has seen Uganda filmmakers being forced and charged for classification of films with a number of shows cancelled yet other audiovisual content users including broadcasters & distributors are exempted.
Classification is the process of giving age ratings and content advice to films and other audiovisual content to help children and families choose what’s right for them and avoid what’s not.
According to the Ugandan PANAF chapter, which is led by Pearlwood, the umbrella organisation of Ugandan filmmakers, they “have witnessed unclassified movies with highly erotic, hard language, and or violence scenes aired on nearly all TV stations in Uganda, which largely explains the decay of morals as these movies are aired during day time when parents/elders can hardly monitor what is suitable for particular groups, especially children.”
Pearlwood demands that the Media Council, as well as all other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, classify all movies distributed, streamed, exhibited, or aired in Uganda. In the absence of this by January 20th, 2023, they will be forced to halt classification of Ugandan films until Article 9 of the Press & Journalist Act, Cap 105 is enacted.
Pearlwood strongly believes that the film classification system and the voluntary rating procedure represent the best approach and structure. Films are classified according to the treatment and impact of the eight main classifiable elements of public concern, specifically theme, language, sex, nudity, violence & cruelty, horror & menace, drug use, and criminal behaviour.
Classification also depends on the context. It is illegal to show indecent images of minors under the age of 18 and to show a work that is obscene. Real explicit sex and detailed exposure of sexual organs are not allowed, nor is pornography.