The Right2Know Campaign released a statement following the Film and Publication Board’s decision to overturn the classification of the multiple award-winning South African film, Inxeba (The Wound) from 16LS to X18.
The new rating is reserved for adult films of an explicit sexual nature.
This reclassification saw the movie being pulled from mainstream cinemas across South Africa on Tuesday, and can only be exhibited in designated adult premises.
This while the Appeals Tribunal is yet to release actual reasons behind its decision to reclassify the film.
A rating of X18 means that the material can only be distributed from designated adult premises. This means the film cannot be screened in cinemas or any other platform that is not a designated adult premise as defined by the Film and Publications Act no 96 of 1996 as amended
In a press statement, the R2K state that the organisation rejects the Film and Publications Board’s reclassification of Inxeba.
The Right2Know Campaign is dismayed by the Film and Publication Board’s act of homophobic censorship. The FPB appeal board recently reclassified award winning film Inxeba to X18 with the classifiable elements of Sex, Language, Nudity, Violence and Prejudice. The X18 classification is one categorisation away from a total ban under FPB classification schedule.
The reclassification means this film can only be screened in “designated adult premises”. We view this as censorship; censorship that silences the voice of the LGBTIQ community, and violates the constitutional right to freedom of expression. As the FPB has yet to publish reasons for this decision, R2K sees it as a dangerous and gross overreach of the FPB's authority.
R2K has been tirelessly campaigning against the censorship threat of the FPB decisions. In 2015, when the Film and Publications Board online regulations were released, R2K spoke out about the threats to a free and democratic internet. In 2016, R2K raised concerns with the FPB’s partnership agreement with the notoriously homophobic Kenyan censorship board, submitting a PAIA request for the agreement. Mambo Online reported that the Kenyan censorship board has a history of banning or attempting to ban LGBTIQ themed material, including films and music videos. R2K’s PAIA request was rejected, raising questions about the FPB’s commitment to transparency and accountability in its decision making.
The reclassification of Inxeba by the appeals board flies in the face of the spirit of the freedom of expression in a democratic state, which includes freedom to receive or impart information or ideas, especially for those ideas or expression which we differ with.
While we respect the freedom of expression of those who feel misrepresented or disagree with this film, we don’t believe that this should lead to the censorship of a narrative, which gives expression to same-sex attraction between men, and the confrontation this creates with traditional notions of masculinity and culture. We demand that the FPB scrap this outrageous, homophobic and patriarchal decision, and allow creative expression to flourish and be seen in its many forms.