Recently, it was reported that Nigerian movies have been banned in Ghana. We have not been able to confirm the position with any of the authorities in Ghana. However, since there is a saying that "in every amount of rumor, there is an atom of truth," we will leave some reminders for the attention of those who may be concerned.
In the spirit of African development, unity, and brotherhood as we so often profess under such bodies as ECOWAS, African Union, etc., we ought to realize that Governments should encourage the spread of such emerging industries as the film Industry rather than attempt to stifle them. Such a move will only come back to hurt the perpetrators sooner or later. The government agencies involved with films (movies) in African countries should also appreciate the fact that the movie industry could be such powerful instrument for economic sustenance as well as a viable means of exporting our culture to the world.
The industry must be encouraged and not discouraged. Countries should seek ways of working together and helping each other rather than seeing the growth of the film industry in another African country as a threat. Let us reiterate that we have not confirmed this news from any Ghana government official hence we cannot conclude. But assuming this is the truth, this piece must then appeal to the government of Ghana to review its position. It is not necessary for the government of Ghana to ban Nigerian movies when it has not banned movies from western countries. This raises the question; should we always strike against our kind in Africa instead of help one another.
The movie industry is one of the highest revenue earners for the United States of America. The neighboring country of Canada continues to exploit the advantages of their proximity rather than ban American films in Canada. Canada earns a lot of revenue and provides its citizens with numerous employments by encouraging American film companies to come and shoot their movies in Canada. The same applies to Mexico. That is the way it ought to be.
Ghana should seek a way of liaising with Nigeria to gain from the movie industry rather than ban such movies. One would hate to imagine what would be the case if Nigerians now go ahead and ban Kente cloth or such other promising products of Ghana origin? Moves like these could lead to very unexpected consequences. The cycle could be very counterproductive. We are supposed to have an economic union of West African states. We are supposed to have an African union. How can we profess such unions and yet go ahead to ban growing products from member-nations?
Every Government reserves the right to ban movies that they find inappropriate to the indigenous culture or society. That is the reason for censorship boards. However, to ban foreign movies simply because they pose a greater commercial challenge to the local industry is like taking the back door to escape a challenge which will be encountered again at the back-yard. It is our hope that Ghana authorities did not generally ban movies from Nigeria or any other African country simply because such industry in such other country seem to be growing faster than it is in Ghana. If they already did, one hopes that they see reason and redress the situation before the backlashes begin.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oliver O. Mbamara is a filmmaker, director, and actor with such films to his credit as "THIS AMERICA,” “SLAVE WARRIOR," and "SPADE: THE LAST ASSIGNMENT," which he wrote and directed.. He is also a judge with the New York State office of Administrative hearings. For more about Oliver O. Mbamara please visit www.OliverMbamara.com