05.07.2010 Movie News

Ghanaian Movies & Censorship, Where Should The Line Be Cut?

Jackie Appiah & Nadia BuariJackie Appiah & Nadia Buari
05.07.2010 LISTEN

As a democratic country, the constitution of Ghana has a freedom and independence media, without unnecessary censorship as Chapter 12 article 162 states in the Ghanaian Constitution.

“Censorship according to my source is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organization”.

Literally, the constitution has given any medium in Ghana the right to publish anything without being suppressed. It is no news that Ghanaian movies are well cherished within and outside Ghana. With great actors, actress and storylines, the audience (Ghanaians and Africans) can learn and connect with their background as these movies are enriched with our culture. These are some of the characteristics that make Ghanaian (or African) movies outstanding.

Recently, there has been a growing dissatisfaction among the audience on the lack of classic storyline. The directors have rather adopted a lot from the western culture and needs to be censored. Families in the olden days could gather around watching television programmes and movies that were educative and entertaining at the same time. These programmes and movies brought a lot of people together in various ways. This pattern has been part of our tradition for so many years.

Our classical movies which used to be educative and entertaining are being replaced with vulgar stories and scenes. I can recall very well from the first movie that I watched when growing up. Movies (Ghanaian/African) of today are not the same compared to the movies we used to watch some years ago. We are of course moving towards a global world where there will be adjustment or adaptation along the process of globalization.

This process does not however mean we should adopt a culture that in many ways contradicts with our own. Our inherited norms and customs are part of our socialization process and part of our culture. Some of our movies may be age limited, but the scenes are even not suitable for adults to watch. With scenes and story like these in our movies, it is impossible for families to gather around and watch movies together like they used to do.

Media contents can sometimes have multiple and related meanings where audience interpret contents based on their cultural background, gender, class and so forth. I am not implying that the Ghanaian movie audience lacks the act of interpreting media contents. It was not long ago when one of the movies in Ghana (Hot Fork) went under moral censorship to remove some of the scenes (even to find a suitable title) that was considered immoral (sexually).

I did my own quantitative survey with two Ghanaian movies, the perfect Picture and the Heart of men. The movies were watched with the same audience during the weekend. I had already watched these movies before and I thought the story was interesting, well apart from the sex scenes. Despite the fact that they had a lot of western impacts, it still had the classical narrative characteristic of a Ghanaian movie, where it teaches us to be good as a person, treat each other with respect, love one another and be vigilant of who we call friends.

These movies were practically about love, friendship and betrayal. I was hoping my audience would actually agree with how I interpreted the movies. At the end of the movie, the audience agreed that the movie was actually not what they had expected. It was more of a western movie with (sex) scenes that were not necessary.

Another movie (Hot Fork), not forgetting 4play also managed to get a lot of attention for the sex scenes in the movie. Some of our directors perhaps need to be reminded that our movies among others do represent Ghana both locally and in international. I have been questioning myself lately whether some of these movie directors are just practicing the fact that there is no censorship in Ghana and can produce any form of media content or they just want to take these loyal audiences and the whole Ghana film Industry to another level?.

Is this how the Ghanaian directors want to place Ghanaian/African Movies internationally? The industry in this case is definitely doing a good job, except that Ghana's reputation of producing interesting good movies is at stake.

I could go on about how in every society there are some ideologies that will dominate and how some people will ignore the dominating ideologies with the help of their own culture. None of us is in the position of condemning another man's culture, but can rather promote and cherish our own culture.

Copying the western culture (that will crash with our own culture) will not place Ghanaian movies internationally. If the Industry was to do a statistic survey on audience of Ghanaian movies, they will come across the fact that Ghanaian movies are cherished, even by non-Ghanaians for the fact that the storyline is very realistic and very cultured.

It seems like movie directors of today have actually come to the phase of cultivating such movies for the sake of money and publicity and have forgotten that our movies among others do represent Ghana as a nation.

Bollywood (Indian movie industry) for instance has highly maintained their culture in their movies by not being too explicit with sex scenes. Our directors should therefore focus less on entwining the western culture into our movies and rather focus on interesting storylines.

Written & Submitted To GhanaCelebrities.Com By Mabel Korlekie

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