Viacom Africa unpacks banning of Nickelodeon’s gay dads on TV
Cape Town – Tensions flared on Thursday afternoon when Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa "reassured" its DStv subscribers in South Africa and the rest of Africa that it would not be airing an episode from animated Nickelodeon series, The Loud House, featuring gay parents.
The specific episode features a bi-racial, married gay couple who show up in a short scene during which they're seen dropping off their son at a party.
The innocent scene was deemed "inappropriate" by certain African countries that according to their broadcasting laws don’t allow the featuring of same-sex parents on its airwaves.
However in South Africa, where gay marriage is legal, there is no law prohibiting the airing of the episode.
Why is the episode being banned from South African TV?
Because VIMN only has one feed that broadcasts to the entire African content the episode was subsequently also removed from South African TV.
VIMN told Channel24 that it is "committed to diversity and inclusiveness" but had to pull the episode due to "regulatory codes in certain markets".
South African viewers are thus being censored by the laws in other African countries. If VIMN were to air the episode they would be breaking the law in several other African countries which could cost them their broadcasting licence. The only way the episode could air on DStv in South Africa is if there was a separate feed for it, which currently isn't available.
However VIMN has assured Channel24 that the episode will be streamed on www.nickelodeonafrica.com and will be available to watch on DStv Catch Up (which isn’t available to the rest of Africa).
This isn’t the first time that SA had to bow down to the rest of Africa
In October 2015 Discovery Networks International that runs the TLC Entertainment channel on MultiChoice's DStv was forced to pull the innocuous new docu-drama, I Am Jazz, about a transgendered teen's struggle and life journey from the channel across the entire Africa just before it was to begin broadcast.
In May NBCUniversal International Networks was suddenly forced to pull the second season of I Am Cait, a reality show about transgender Caitlyn Jenner from its E! Entertainment channel on MultiChoice's DStv making it unavailable for the entire Africa.
Source: Channel 24 22 July 2016