Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Film Censorship - An Archaic Tool.

Just as long as I can still go down to my local video shop, and hire movies depicting torture, kidnapping, murder, cannabalism, serial killing, genocide, etc., then I am happy! We don't want that horrible stuff! (Paraphrase of a letter in The Sydney Morning Herald).

What I commented at the Malaysian Forum : Firstly Tan Chai Ho obfuscates fairly well. Loyalty to his boss or his political future, I wonder. Since when did our government become so people receptive? That even without a public whimper the minister in his great wisdom and perhaps with telepathic ability beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals KNEW 'that is what the people want'. Wonderful. A clairvoyant at the home ministry. We are safe, rest easy people. He WILL know what we want and when we don't. Ra Ra Radzi.

Briefly for the uninitiated, the movie 'The Last Communist' has been banned by ministerial fiat. The Deputy Home Minister, Tan Chai Ho was reported as saying that even though the National Film Censorship Board (LPF) had approved the screening of Amir Muhammad's latest film, the minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, retracted the approval last Friday (May 5, 2006).

According to The SunDaily :Among public protests to the movie were news reports and editorials in Malay dailies, particularly over the last week that highlighted objections from veteran politicians, members of Parliament and historians.

One editorial in Berita Harian by Akmal Abdullah said while it might not be fair to punish the film without watching it, especially since the LPF had already approved its screening, the movie was a "tribute" to a Communist leader and the Communist struggle.

The assistant entertainment editor said Communism was not dead and could be revived at any time !!! (Exclamations mine)

**** Discussion : First off, who gave these chaps the monopoly on what the public opinion is? When antiquated views devoid of proof or rationale is trotted off with gay abandon the authorities should pause, check whether there is any veracity to the claim despite the 'credentials' of the objector, elicit the real views of the general public and then decide whether to ban or not to ban. That would be a credible way to make decisions rather than a knee jerk appeasement of fossilized thinking. If some of these 'critics' had their way the only films we'll get to see are re-runs of P.Ramlee films (which incidentally I enjoy very much) and movies which carry moral and religious messages.

By banning this film does the Minister actually feel that everything is AOK? - That people have been saved from the evil influence of communism, that no one will watch the film at all and that there will be no questioning of his rationale for the ban? If this is his opinion then it is laughable and shows a remarkable ignorance of realities on the ground. How many times must it be drummed into the heads of our political leaders that the era of censorship is over? Period.

Please refer to the first line of my article and the lament by some Aussie in The Sydney Morning Herald and how eloquently he has voiced his objection and the ready availability of banned films from other sources. The same applies here in Malaysia too. The only difference is that the Aussie was referring to a sex film while here we are banning a movie about an old and perhaps a dying man who had the courage of his convictions!


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