National Film Authority is set to inaugurate the Film Classification Committee on Thursday 14th May, 2020 at 10am at the Accra Tourism Information Center. Filmmaker and advocate for the film industry Socrate Sarfo, has been hinted as a possible candidate for the position of Chairman of the Committee. The Classification Committee is an instrument under the National Film Authority (N.F.A) with the purpose of classifying all audiovisual materials such as movies, television programmes, music videos and so on, for public viewing. The President of the National Film Authority David Dontoh, said that the classification committee is a necessary arm of the N.F.A and will bring sanitization to viewers in Ghana.
The President of the National Film Authority (N.F.A) David Dontoh, has described the Classification Committee as a very important arm of the N.F.A and has therefore lauded the inauguration of the Classification Committee which is scheduled for next week Thursday in Accra. “The Classification Committee is one of the organs of the National Film Authority. In fact, in the constitution of Ghana, the law we the stakeholders of film operate with is titled ‘Classification and Development of Film’, so classification is very much a part of the National Film Authority and is also recognized by law. Though classification of audiovisual materials was suspended in 2016, we want to bring it back because, a part from being legally mandated to do that, we believe every material that is put out in public for exhibition, whether film, documentary, advert, music video or soap opera, must be classified”, he said.
David Dontoh also said that the classification process is going to be carried out in accordance with the law and other parameters established by the Classification Committee. “The classification process is going to be carried out with a certain guideline, which will be prescribed in the law and also developed by the classification committee”, he explained.
Finally, the President of the National Film Authority David Dontoh warned that though censorship was not backed by law, people who failed to heed to the decisions of the Classification Committee would face sanctions as stated in the law. “In Ghana, the constitution does not allow us to censor, but it allows us to classify, and this is actually to define times when some films can be shown because of the content and also the place of exhibition. The classification categories will also include ‘Parental Guide’, ’15 years’, ’18 years and adults’. However, there is also a provision for a film that can be passed as ‘not suitable for television’. So, in such a situation, if a film passed as not suitable for television is still put in public domain, the person or institution responsible for showing the material has flouted the law and therefore would attract sanctions”, he said.
The members of the Classification Committee will include representative of the various organizations: the office of the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Information Service Department, National Commission on Culture, National Film and Television Institute, Film Producers Association, Ghana Police Service, Copyright office, Christian Council, Federation of Muslim Council, Traditional Religious Authority, Ministry of Gender and Children and social protection, and the National House of Chiefs.
By Jerry Wonder