The management of pay TV StarTimes, has said that dubbing Chinese films into Yoruba and other indigenous languages, as the company is currently doing, will not erode Nigerian culture.
It said this in reaction to a protest by indigenous film-makers, who see the plan to dub Chinese films and air it in the country as a threat to the indigenous arm of the Nigerian film industry, its culture and economy in general.
Leading film-makers, marketers and other stakeholders, including Jide Kosoko and Dele Odule, had, at a media briefing in Lagos, condemned the development and called on relevant authorities to halt it.
But in a statement signed by StarTimes Head, Public Relations, Isreal Bolaji, it said the project was not aimed at undermining Nigerian culture and economy.
It said, “The world has become a global village which continues to shrink exponentially due to sustained advancement in technology. The implication of this is that cultural communications too have to align with the current trend. In reality, cultural intermingling is even growing faster than the rate of global integration.
“This is clearly evident in Yoruba movies being subtitled in English, Indian movies with English, French, Arabic or Swahili subtitles, Mexican, Philippines,’ Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, Indian series, just to mention a few, which are dubbed in English and other popular languages of the world. Cultural integration is a continuous phenomenon that dates back to when man was first created.”
StarTimes further argued that Nigerians liked Bollywood and Chinese movies; hence, the need to improve communication channels.
“Bollywood movies and some Chinese contents are subtitled. But some of the fans of these contents who are however slow readers rightly feel short-changed. Hence the urgent need to dub voices in their preferred language. This has no intention to suppress any culture here.
“In fact, rather than cultural erosion, what we have is an harmonious cultural integration and better entertainment for viewers. Just why anybody or culture will raise dust or feel threatened beats us as the proposed plans to air foreign films in indigenous languages is definitely creating more jobs for many Nigerian translators and voice over artistes, extending audience reach and appeal, enriching entertainment variety for viewers and translating to higher revenues for Nigeria. To be more specific, the project currently has over 2000 Nigerians gainfully employed and working in over 10 studios, with all productions done right here in Nigeria and by Nigerians.
“StarTimes remains committed to the continuous growth and promotion of Nigerian, nay African, contents which is evident in the fact that we have the highest number of indigenous channels on our platforms compared to others,” it added.