Egyptian Artists Call for Censorship End

Members of the Kefaya democracy movement prote...

Members of the Kefaya democracy movement protesting a fifth term for President Hosni Mubarak.

Source: Bikyamasr – By Manar Ammar

531 Egyptians artists involved in the country’s cinema industry are calling for the cancellation of censorship imposed on films. The group includes actors, producers and filmmakers.

They released a statement calling for the dismantling of the institution that aims at “preserving public morality, order and interests of the state.”

The statement was released on February 21.

“The world has been changing, but Egypt stood still for a long time, as the sword of censorship was on every neck that wanted to work legitimately in the industry,” read the statement.

The statement called for the immediate halting of censorship activities and asked to wait until the widely anticipated elections to deploy the age-rating system used in most countries.

Saied Khatab, Egypt’s head of censorship has recently called for a similar demand and suggested using age group classifications like the US.

Egypt’s only censorship rating system is declaring a film “for adults only,” meaning not for people under 21-years-old. The system was largely not followed for years, which originally demanded filmgoers show some form of identification to see such a film.

Egyptian films in the past had to fight to keep its original script without the involvement of various morale authorities and many directors and screen writers have previously warned of the excessive role that the state security and religious institutions played in determining if the material in hand was suitable for watching or not.

Most American films that are shown in the country are censored. The censorship of foreign films includes nudity, however brief and any sexual scenes including kissing.

The censorship committee is known to leave bloody and gory scenes in films.

The call was met with criticism from conservatives as some said this move would open the door to more nudity or obscenity shown in films.

Many commentators for al-Shorouk newspaper have called it “immoral” and a reader commented for tightening the existing laws.

Actor and producer Is’ad Yonis, one of the people who signed the statement replied to the criticism by saying that those who oppose the call must understand that the group is not calling for obscenity.

“Some believe that censorship in Egypt was created to limit nudity or pornographic scenes, which is a mistaken view that surfaced because of the false sexual concepts that controls Egyptian minds in an unhealthy way, which is a result of lack of sexual education at schools that terrifies our community,” Younis said.

Activist, Unplugged from the Matrix. Action for Freedom!

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