Earlier in March, the Egyptian parliament started discussing a draft amendment to the Penal Code that aims to provide harsher penalties including imprisonment for using lewd or offensive words, especially in artworks. The suggested amendment may send
the offender to prison for three years for offending public sensibilities through lewd language, instead of a fine of 500 Egyptian pounds ($32) currently determined by law.
The draft law needs to go through parliamentary subcommittees, but no date has
yet been set.
The bill comes in the wake of a major controversy over mahraganat , a hybrid music genre that combines folk with electronic music and uses colloquialism in its lyrics. This genre of music, whose name literally means festivals
in Arabic, originated in the Cairo slums in the early 2000s. Its beat resembles that of American rap and, like rap, its lyrics contain sexual innuendos, racy words and obscenities.
These songs have entered every household in Egypt through the
internet and smartphones, Amer told Al-Monitor. A mother, a sister, a wife or daughter should never be exposed to such words because they are offensive and often sexist.
The lyrics of one of these songs -- Bent el-Geran (The Neighbor's Daughter)
by Hassan Shakosh and Omar Kamal -- ignited on Feb. 14 the debate on mahraganat. The song's lyrics suggest alcohol and hashish -- both of which are forbidden in Islam -- to get over a heartbreak.
The suggestion of alcohol and hashish angered many
critics, the powerful Egyptian Musicians Syndicate and parliamentarians, including Amer. They argued that the song was an attack on the public taste and encouragement of immorality.
Onward is a 2020 USA children's cartoon comedy by Dan Scanlon. Starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf
brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, go on an journey to discover if there is still a little magic left out there in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were too young to remember him.
Disney's latest Pixar
cartoon Onward has been banned by several Middle Eastern countries because of a reference to lesbian parents. The film will not be shown in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Police officer Specter, voiced by Lena Waithe, has been heralded as
Disney-Pixar's first openly gay character. Her lines include: It's not easy being a parent... my girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out, OK?
Other Middle East countries, Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt are showing the film.
according to Deadline, Russia censored the scene in question by changing the word girlfriend to partner and avoiding mentioning the gender of Specter, who is a supporting character.
Meanwhile in the US the christian website LifeSiteNews has launched
a petition calling for a boycott of the movie. Gualberto Garcia Jones Director of Advocacy for LifeSite whinged:
It's a relentless onslaught against our children's innocence. And, we parents have got to be just as
relentless in rejecting Disney's attempt to sexualize our children.
The petition has been signed by about 55,000 people and states:
By forcing the LGBT agenda on us, you are seriously disrespecting our
values. The days are now over where we would give you our hard-earned dollars just so you can turn around and offend us and our children's innocence. Please do not pursue this agenda again in the future.
It came as little surprise to Kuwaiti artist Shurooq Amin that her latest exhibition was shut down by the authorities just a week after it opened. Her work has always sparked controversy.
Amin's most recent defiant display, Like Russian Dolls We
Nest in Previous Selves , opened on 8 January. It was planned to run for a month at the Contemporary Art Platform (CAP). But a week after opening, the exhibition was dramatically shut down and her work ordered to be removed.
released no official statement , the gallery said they were told they hadn't obtained a prior licence from the concerned authorities and that there were claims that the exhibition contained elements in violation of the publishing law of the Ministry of
In Like Russian Dolls We Nest in Previous Selves , a set of portraits show women sitting on thrones, some in revealing clothing and languid poses with bottles of what appears to be alcohol.
In the main gallery space, mannequins were
positioned to look like visitors viewing the artwork. In a country where alcohol is illegal, the bottles might be controversial enough. But the conservatively veiled mannequins looking at the portraits of the scantily clad women may also have
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is a 2020 India gay comedy by Hitesh Kewalya. Starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Jitendra Kumar and Gajraj Rao.
Presenting the life of two gay men who are in love,
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan depicts their struggle to convince their families to accept the relationship. But things are never as easy as they seem and one of the boy`s family decides to get him married to a girl. Will their `unconventional` love
A major Bollywood gay film has been banned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Touted as India's first gay male romantic comedy, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (Be Extra Careful About Marriage) stars popular actor Ayushmann Khurrana
as an openly gay man, who battles traditional attitudes to be with his boyfriend.
Film director Hitesh Kewalya said: Yes, it's banned adding that he had no further details about the move.
Meanwhile the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB)
CEO Ezekiel Mutua has also banned the screening of Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan'. In a statement he maintained that the 'gay-themed is not in line with Kenyan constitution and the institution of family, hence the decision to ban its screening. He added:
The film is worse than the ones we have banned in the past as it has scenes involving children in homosexual practices and openly attempts to legitimize same-sex marriage.
Homosexuality is illegal
in Kenya. Further, Kenya is a God-fearing nation which places a great premium on family, an institution derived from a union between two people of the opposite gender.
Kenya will not be the dumping ground for all manner of filth
that seeks to destroy the institution of family and our cultural identity.
For comparison the film was passed 12A uncut by the BBFC for implied strong language, suicide references, discrimination theme
Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani amended Article 136 of the country's penal code to make the publication or sharing of 'false news' punishable by up to five years in prison or a 100,000 Qatari riyal fine (US$27,500)
CPJ Senior Middle East
and North Africa Researcher Justin Shilad said:
Instead of standing up for press freedom in the Gulf region, where the free flow of information is under threat, Qatari authorities have jumped on the 'false news'
bandwagon. Qatar should rescind this repressive law and focus instead on legislation that enshrines press freedom in line with its international human rights law commitments.
The End Will Be Spectacular is a 2019 Syria war film by Ersin «elik. Starring ArjÓn Baysal, Arif DemÓr and Sahire Ozhan.
Zilan, a young woman, returns to her hometown looking
for the traces of his dead brother, killed by the Islamic State. But her town is not what it used to be: social and political tensions have escalated into a state of war. The people have risen to demand their political autonomy and the police and army
repress them with brutal force. But the city's resistance will go on for more than 100 days and Zilan will not remain a passive witness. Based on the diaries of those who died fighting and the testimony of survivors, who enact the protagonists of the
film, «elik's first feature explores concepts such as hope, friendship, sacrifice and loss in the struggle for freedom of a group of young people.
A film based on the real-life resistance of Kurdish youth in Turkey was banned by
Sulaimani's security forces just a day before its Kurdistan premiere.
Ji Bo Azadiye (The End Will be Spectacular) , directed by Kurdish filmmaker Ersin Celik was pulled by Sulamani Asayesh (security forces) from the premiere at Sulaimani's
The film team and cinema staff have criticised the cancellation of the screening, which has been shown abroad but now cannot be seen by a Kurdistan Region audience.
First premiering at Calcutta's 25th International Film Festival in
November, the production has received positive responses from foreign audiences. The film will next be screened in Rotterdam, Holland in January.
On 1st January 2020 Netflix started streaming Messiah, a series about a mysterious figure, Al-Masih, played by Belgian actor Mehdi Dehbi. It is not clear whether he is a divine entity ... or simply a charlatan.
But according to an on-line
petition, Al-Masih is, in fact, the Muslim version of the antiChrist. The Royal Film Commission of Jordan has asked Netflix not to stream the drama in the country. The Jordanian government organisation's Managing Director, Mohannad al-Bakr, held a press
conference with local media. He said:
While still standing firmly by its principles, notably the respect of creative freedom, the RFC -- as a public and responsible institution -- cannot condone or ignore messages that
infringe on the Kingdom's basic laws.
The RFC's announcement represents an about-face for the organisation. Its statement acknowledges that Messiah was partially shot in the Kingdom in 2018, and that, after it had reviewed synopses
for the series' episodes, it approved the shoot and granted the show a tax credit.
A spokesperson for Netflix indicated that they have not received a formal legal request to remove the series from the streamer's Jordanian service.