Beirut 23-5- 2012
On Monday May 21st, Lebanese cinemas withdrew Joe Bou Eid movie “Tannoura Maxi” from the theaters. This reminds us of the license’s withdrawal of Mark Abi Rached movie “Help’ a few years ago, after the pressure exerted by the religious authorities on the General Security.
Joe Bou Eid had already amended many parts of his movie before its display in the cinemas, and the amended copy was approved by the general security; afterwards, the media started inciting the public opinion against the work. One of the priests asked the authorities on Al-Jadeed (Lel Nacher Program) for the immediate intervention to ban the movie. Few days later the minister of interior Marwan Charbel decided to stop the movie upon the request of the president of “Catholic Media Center”, Reverend Abdo Abou Kasem.
After this incident, Maharat and Marsad fear that the civil state will become subject to any religious authority. With our reservation on the prior censorship on all artistic work, we stress the importance of protecting civil and constitutional institutions that guarantees the freedom of thought and expression from the domination of the religious figures.
We note here that the freedom includes the right of the audience to have access to all ideas and opinions, away from any restraints that are against the values of the democratic societies and the Lebanese constitution that guarantees the freedom of thought and creativity. We are looking forward to protecting and promoting civil laws to create a free atmosphere to discuss ideas. We also stress on the freedom of every adult to choose to watch a certain movie or not, and to provide his/her opinion and criticism… Thus, anyone who feels offended by these opinions has all the right to refer to the courts.