If you missed the news, E! 's controversial reality show about Caitlyn Jenner's life I Am Cait has been pulled from Dstv, thanks to objections made by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), effectively censoring it for all African viewers. The question obviously is why are we in South Africa not going to see the show, if we don't have a problem with it.
Well the answer is simple; there's only one E! feed on DStv for the whole African continent. This means we are all subjected to the same programming lineup which effectively means if one country convinces E! to pull a show, we all loose.
To be clear, this would have happened the other way round too. Should the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa lodge a successful bid to have a show pulled from E!, the whole continent would have to to endure the loss too. So, before you have a hissy fit and cuss the Naijas for depriving you of "I Am Cait", I think you should direct your anger at NBCUniversal International Network.
However, South Africans have a legitimate cause to be pissed off by Nigeria in this issue. In October 2015 the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission ordered MultiChoice and Discovery Networks International to remove the transgender reality show I Am Jazz from the TLC Entertainment (Dstv 135) channel.
Since like E! International, Discovery Networks International runs only one TLC Entertainment channel feed for the entire Africa, removing I Am Jazz from the channel's schedule meant that DStv subscribers across the entire Africa, including South Africa, missed out on seeing the show. That is a problem because it is now becoming a trend.
I respect Nigerians and their laws. If the government of Nigeria feels watching a show about transgender people is a problem and their citizen do not challenge that move, then to each his own. When their censorship is starting to affect me when I live in a democratic country that affords me the right to choose what I want to see on my screen, then we have a problem and South Africans are right to complain.
After removing remaining episodes of I Am Cait from the May/June Schedule NBC Universal International Networks said it "stands by the diverse range of content it produces and broadcasts around the world'
Unfortunately, this move has set a dangerous precedence for future programming on Dstv's international channel feeds.
What will happen when the Nigerians feel that another show is too gay or too violent? What is morally acceptable in South Africa may not be the same in another African country. Why then should we be subjected to prejudicial decision made in another country?
THIS IS A PROBLEM. Given that South Africans make the biggest bulk of DSTV's subscribers, we should make our views heard and see to it that Multichoice puts pressure of their feed providers to fix this problem. I doubt it would be that big of a hurdle for NBCU and Discovery Network to come up with the alternative feed that will isolate Nigeria from South Africa.