Google Kenya has refused to remove a gay music video even after authorities demand to remove it to stop people from watching it.
The video, which reflects the life of gay communities in Kenya, was released by Art Attack on Youtube on 15 February 2016. It is a remake of “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The video has crossed 140,000 views.
The video features images of anti-gay protests in Nairobi last year, ahead of US president Barack Obama’s visit. It shows two women kissing in a forest, away from any public places. It includes snapshots of the writer Binyavanga Wainaina, a gay public figure in Kenya. It also shows the Kenyan gospel artist, George Barasa, who came out in 2013.
“Somebody has to stand and speak against what is going on,” Barasa said in a report by Quartz Africa.
A Google Kenya lawyer said that it does not have the authority to take down the video, as it is operated separately by Youtube, reports Business Daily.
“YouTube has clear policies that outline what content is acceptable to post and we remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users. We review government removal requests when notified through the correct legal processes and in keeping with our company’s philosophy of transparency and freedom of expression,” said a Google spokesman in the US.
The video was earlier banned in late February by Kenyan regulators. They claimed that the video harms the country and can turn the country into “Sodom and Gomorrah”. They said that anyone found distributing and sharing it would face punishment. However, the agency which banned the video retweeted the link to it, which even brought more attention to nascent gay rights campaign in Kenya.
— felix asoha (@felix_asoha) February 23, 2016
The head of Kenya Films Classification Board (KFCB), Ezekiel Mutua, said that homosexuality has been a subject of public debate, with several pubic ideologies taking it as a social stigma. He said if a homosexual sought a job with the regulator, he would not be sent away.
“But if they kiss another man in public, they will be condemned.” he added.