Four African nations’ battles against gay-themed films

Officials in Cameroon, Kenya, Egypt and Uganda take different approaches

Scene from "Call Me Samuel"

Scene from “Call Me Samuel”


Four scenes — among many — of homophobic African officials trying to keep their citizens from seeing LGBTQ-related entertainment:

In Kenya, Netflix Africa has agreed to end streaming of LGBTQ-specific movies, as demanded by Kenyan officials.

As the Washington Blade reported  the ban represents the latest battle in Kenya’s war against gay-themed videos. In 2021, the Kenya Film Classification Board prohibited showings of the locally produced documentary “I Am Samuel,” which depicts the challenges facing a gay Kenyan. The firm is available on many international streaming platforms.

Egypt’s media regulator last year warned Netflix and Disney+ not to stream LGBTQ-specific content, saying that such shows violate Egypt’s “societal values.”

Kenya and Egypt have the highest number of Netflix subscriptions in Africa.

In Uganda, the new Anti-Homosexuality Law calls for a 20-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of promoting homosexuality. The direct broadcast satellite service DStv, based in South Africa, said it stopped providing gay-related videos in Uganda in order to comply with the new law.

In Cameroon, the National Communication Council warned broadcasters that their licenses would be revoked if they offered content that it considers promotion of homosexuality.

Reporter Steeves Winner reports from Cameroon:

In a statement issued to the media on June 12, the National Communication Council warned against “the proliferation of programs promoting homosexual practices”.

Joseph Chebongkeng Kalabubsu, president of Cameroon's National Communication Council. (Photo courtesy of Africa-Excellence)

Joseph Chebongkeng Kalabubsu, president of Cameroon’s National Communication Council. (Photo courtesy of Africa-Excellence)

“These programs, generally broadcast by foreign publishers […] are increasingly found in cartoons aimed at children and minors”. council president Joseph Chebongkeng Kalabubsu declared that “these practices are contrary to good morals, customs and Cameroonian legislation”.

The agency threatened to suspend any channel that broadcasts “programs showing scenes of homosexuality, prejudicial to good social order, a fortiori to children and young people”.

In Cameroon, consensual sex with a person of the same sex is punishable by six months to five years in prison.

In a statement, the council reminded media companies that homosexuality is condemned by Cameroonian criminal law and stated that “the broadcasting of homosexual scenes in the media constitutes a breach of professional ethics.”

Foreign media companies were ordered to immediately withdraw programs promoting homosexuality on pain of losing their licenses.