There are more than 95 countries in world where homosexuality in all its forms are illegal. In Africa, Homosexual acts are still a crime in 39 countries, where most people hold conservative religious views with Nigeria being the 38th (and Uganda, 39th). In November 2011, the Senate of Nigeria passed the “Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, 2011” which was also passed by the lower house on the May 30, 2013. And by January 7, 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan signed the the bill into law which criminalizes same-sex relationships despite pressure from Western governments. The bill, contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison and bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups.
The Nigerian populace generally frowns at the issue of LGBT in all its ramifications and so it was not a surprise when there was an online protest against Multichoice, the parent company of Nigeria’s must watched cable service provider, DSTV, when it decided to air the transgender themed teen show ‘I Am Jazz.’
“I am Jazz,” like the other transgender shows that have sprung up since the Catilyn Jenner interview with Diane Sawyer, is a sensitively constructed series built around 15-year-old transgender teen, Jazz Jennings and her family. However, a growing online protests by Nigerians who say a TV show aimed at teens and pre-teens is not suitable or proper programming for the audience, has forced DSTV to remove the show from its airing schedule in Nigeria.
An official statement released by Multichoice Nigeria to that effect read thus:
“MultiChoice Nigeria is aware of the concerns raised by our viewers across various platforms, about the airing of “I am Jazz,” the story of a transgender child scheduled to show on TLC, DStv channel 172 on 27 October 2015.
“After careful consideration and wide consultation from various stakeholders, MultiChoice informs its esteemed subscribers that the mini-series, “I am Jazz” has been pulled off the schedule.
“We regularly assess the impact our content have on our customers and we reassure them that their interests are always considered.
“However, we take comfort in knowing that our decoders are encrypted with the parental control feature that empowers parents with ultimate control over what their children view. We also encourage parents to make use of this feature as much as possible to ensure that their children only watch what their parents deem appropriate.”