Lebanon: Protest against increased censorship

In light of the notable increase in censorship in Lebanon over the last year, a number of musicians, performers, filmmakers and comedians decided to put on a show at Metro al-Madina in Beirut on 15 March 2012, entitled ‘I am Free’.

The event brought together popular artists such as the Lebanese producer and musician Zeid Hamdan, the local Indie-rock band Adonis, and the comedy duo of Lebanese brothers Saeed and Jamal Malaeb.

“The situation is sensitive,” musician Zeid Hamdan told the magazine NOW Lebanon which published an article about censorship in Lebanon on 16 March 2012 where a number of Lebanese artists are being interviewed about their take on censorship. He also gave this short interview which was posted on youtube.com:

Interview with event organizer Zeid Hamdan. By Yasmine Sarhi.

“As of late, General Security has had its fingers in every piece of the proverbial cultural pie. From films to music and plays, General Security hasn’t spared any of the artistic mediums from its oversight and regulation,” wrote Naziha Baassiri in the article which was published on nowlebanon.com on 16 March 2012.

“In the 1990s, there was no censorship. There was intimidation. They would call you up and [threaten to] harm you… Now, with the assassinations and the [Arab Spring], the situation is sensitive… So the [December ban] on Danielle Arbid’s film [Beirut Hotel], to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s verdict… It is all interconnected,” Hamdan told NOW Lebanon. The musician believes that without consistent enforcement of the law, it’s ‘anything goes’ in Lebanon.

“It’s uplifting to see many Lebanese engaged in the fight against cultural censorship,” wrote Naziha Baassiri.

Naziha Baassiri’s NOW Lebanon article:
nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=376805

Article about the event:
A call to freedom from Lebanese artists

Facebook page for the event:
facebook.com/events/256513944430639

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Facebook note:
“We reject censorship, as it’s opposed to the values of democracy, undermines the intelligence of the country’s citizens, and harms individual and community rights.

We reject Censorship as it damages Artistic and Intellectual Creativity.”

For the sake of freedom of speech and opinion, a group of artists, intellectuals, activists and journalists including actress Hanan Hajj Ali, director Danielle Arbid, lawyer Nizar Saghieh, journalist Pierre Abi Saab, Maharat Foundation, Censorship Observatory (movement to review the law concerning the censorship in Lebanon) and Orjouane productions, invite you to

“I am free” an event against censorship that will be held on Thursday March 15th, 2012 in “Metro Al Madina” Hamra at 9pm, featuring Zeid Hamdan (concert), Alexandre Paulikevitch (Dance performance), Wael Noureddine (lecture), Ed Abbas (from Fareeq El Atrach), Dany Baladi (concert), Adonis (concert), Katibe Khamse (concert), Sit down comedy (performance).

نرفض الرقابة، لأنها تتناقض مع الديموقراطية، وتحتقر ذكاء المواطنين، وتسيء الى الحقوق الفرديّة والجماعيّة
نرفض الرقابة لأنها تشوّه الإبداع، وتفرض وصاية على المثقفين والمبدعين والمفكرين
دفاعاً عن حرية التفكير والتعبير، تدعوكم مجموعة من الناشطين والمثقّّفين والحقوقيّين والاعلاميّين والمبدعين، بينهم، الممثّلة حنان الحاج علي، والمخرجة دانيال عربيد، والمحامي نزار صاغيّة والصحافي بيار أبي صعب، إضافة إلى “مؤسسة مهارات”، و”أرجوان للإنتاج”، إلى حضور أمسية فنية بعنوان “أنا حرّ(ة)”، تقام عند التاسعة من ليل الخميس 15 آذار، في “ميترو المدينة” (الحمرا، بيروت).
“أنا حرّ(ة)” سهرة فنية ضدّ الرقابة
يشارك فيها وائل نورالدين، زيد حمدان، الكسندر بوليكيفيتش، أد (من “فريق

Sit down comedy.الأطرش”)، داني بلدي، أدونيس، “كتيبة خمسة”، و

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Censorship in Lebanon: law and practice. A Collaborative Study. 52 pages. January 2012.

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