Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Most Arabs want more censorship of film and TV

The majority of Arabs want tighter censorship of films and TV shows, according to a six-nation poll.
Around 69 percent of respondents felt there should be greater regulation of romantic content, while 74 percent said more should be done about on-screen violence, according to a survey by Northwestern University in Qatar in partnership with the Doha Film Institute.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents said films or other entertainment programs should be banned altogether if they are found offensive.
Most of those surveyed said Arab films and television are good for morality, while just 15 percent said the same about films from the United States. Over a third said they thought Hollywood films and TV shows are harmful for morality.
The survey was published in the same week as it emerged that a movie starring Lebanese film and pop star Haifa Wehbe had been pulled from Egyptian cinemas after being deemed sexually provocative.
Censorship is applied in varying degrees across many Arab countries. Films are regularly censored in cinemas; in the UAE, for example, The Wolf of Wall Street was 45 minutes shorter due to removed scenes.
Some films are banned outright, such as the movie Noah, which did not screen in cinemas in countries including theUAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Egypt.
The ‘Entertainment Media Use in the Middle East’ survey was based on 6,035 face-to-face interviews in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
Contradictions
Two-thirds of adults from the countries surveyed said people benefit from watching content from different parts of the world, yet a similar proportion said they prefer films that portray their own culture. Around 79 percent said more should be done to preserve cultural traditions, while at the same time 70 percent want more cultural integration with modern society.
“These apparently contradictory findings really are not, but reflect how the Arab world is coping with globalization and still grappling to preserve local culture,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar.
Abdulaziz al-Khater, chief executive of the Doha Film Institute, said the survey showed a “growing demand” for locally generated entertainment.
“The findings reinforce the idea that nurturing a thriving creative industry in our region is vital to enabling the creation of content that accurately reflects Arab culture,” al-Khater said.