Pay TV platform MultiChoice Africa has axed a Disney children’s show ahead of the planned introduction of a gay character, reports Gabriella Opara.
Following an announcement from Disney that its live-action series Andi Mack will introduce a gay character in its newly premiered season, MultiChoice Africa, which operates the DStv and GOtv platforms, said it will no longer air the show.
With broadcasters – in this case, Disney Channel – often providing only one satellite feed into Africa, a ban of a show in one country means it is taken off-air across the entire continent, even in countries where the content is not censored.
The move comes after Kenyan media regulators banned the series and follows the prohibition in Nigeria of reality shows I Am Cait and I Am Jazz on the E! channel of DStv Africa for including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) characters.
With anything that is seen to promote LGBTI a breach of Nigeria’s national broadcasting code, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said it is ensuring that any programme on air clearly complies with its code of ethics.
Disney has promised African fans of Andi Mack that it will find alternative ways of broadcasting the show while still respecting each market’s cultural sensibilities and adhering to its rules and regulations.
The US media giant said in a statement: “While our shows are developed for global audiences we are committed to respecting each market’s cultural sensibilities, compliance rules and regulations.
“Disney Channel in South Africa serves multiple countries across Africa and the Middle East, each with its own regulations to which we adhere. Accordingly, Andi Mack will not be broadcast through DStv.”