Lebanon: Two movies banned from film festival

Two movies – ‘Beit Al-Baher’ (The Beach House) and ‘Mawlana’ (The Preacher) – were not granted screening permissions during the Beirut Cinema Days film festival held in Beirut, Lebanon, from 15 to 24 March 2017, reported Stepfeed on 24 March 2017. During the ninth edition of the festival the Lebanese censorship board enforced strict regulations […]

Kuwait/Lebanon/UAE: Countries ban Egyptian film over religious concerns

Egyptian film ‘Mawlana’ (Preacher) has been banned in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon over backlash from religious clerics amid fears it could “incite sectarian strife”, reported Arab Times Online, An-Nahar and Al Bawaba in February 2017. Lebanese censors objected to 12 minutes of the film, saying it “could incite sectarian strife and provoke […]

Lebanon: Religious believer blacked out of film

Lebanese-French filmmaker Philippe Aractingi expected his latest film ‘Ismaii’ (Listen) to be censored due to some sex scenes in the film, however only one scene in the film was censored by covering a Druze cleric with a black mark, reported French news outlet Courrier International on 8 February 2017. Though the film received approval from […]

Lebanon: Backlash mounts after psychedelic music festival

The Hexaplex psychedelic music festival held from 1-4 September 2016 at a camping site in Chahtoul, Lebanon, 35 kilometres north of capital Beirut, has been receiving backlash from the local Christian community, politicians and general public who claim festivalgoers participated in acts contrary to their religious, cultural and social norms and values, including the use […]

Lebanon: Two films pulled from festival over politics

In its 16th year, the Beirut International Festival announced on 5 October 2016 that three films would no longer be part of the schedule due to Lebanese authorities not granting screening permits; however later in the week one movie, ‘The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood’ directed by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, acquired the required permit and made […]

Lebanon: Authorities ban song on grounds of offending God

The censorship bureau of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate has banned Bachar Mar-Khalife’s song ‘Kyrie Eleison’ because it “contains offenses to God as the singer talked to God in the song saying, ‘have mercy on us and leave us alone’”, reported CNN Arabic on 12 April 2016. The authorities further stated that if Bashar Mar-Khalife wants […]

Lebanon: Sculptures spark suspicion of Satanism

Over 20 of Michel Elefteriades’ sculptures have been seized by Lebanese authorities on the grounds that they could be interpreted as Satanist symbols, reported online arts portal Hyperallergic on 21 January 2016. On 6 January 2016 police arrested a worker at the bronze factory that Elefteriades uses to cast his sculptures and then summoned the […]

Lebanon: Play banned after director refuses to make changes

The General Security’s Censorship Bureau on 16 November 2015 banned playwright Lucien Bourjeily’s ‘Beirut Syndrome’ from being performed after he refused to alter sentences in the work, reported The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Bourjeily submitted his play for approval on 23 October 2015. After review, the bureau called for the removal of two […]

Lebanon: Documentary film with Sahrawi artists banned

The film ‘Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara’ has been banned in Lebanon. All screenings at Beirut Film Fest have been cancelled. ‘Life Is Waiting’ is a new film by director Iara Lee, who asked Sahrawi activists and artists to give answers to questions such as: ‘What will it take for the […]

Iran/Lebanon/Ukraine: Artists affected by conflicts

When conflicts unfold between and within countries, artists’ rights to artistic freedom of expression are often violated. Recently, artists have been affected by the ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, and between Israel and Lebanon as well as Iran. Singer banned in Iran after performance in Israel The Iranian-born British Muslim singer Sami Yusuf, whose […]

Lebanon: Armenian concert cancelled in Tripoli

An Armenian concert scheduled to be held at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Tripoli on 25 April 2015 was cancelled out of fear that it would be used to attack Turkish policy against Armenian people in the past and thus provoke Turkey. According to As-Safir, one of Lebanon’s leading daily newspapers, The […]

Freemuse and PEN submit joint report about Lebanon to UN

On 23 March 2015, Freemuse, Pen International and Pen Lebanon submitted a Universal Periodic Review about Lebanon to the United Nations – for consideration at the 23rd session of the UN working group in October 2015. “Lebanon rather than supporting its creative industries and artists is making several hindrances to artistic freedom and creativity through […]

Lebanon: Bans film on Iran protest movement

Lebanese authorities stop the screening of ‘The Silent Majority Speaks’, which depicts the 2009 post-election Green Movement protests in Iran, organisers of a local film festival said on 16 November 2014. Lebanon’s Censorship Committee is part of the General Security agency and monitors all films before screening in the country. General Security is regarded as […]

Lebanon: Virtual museum winning censorship battles

The Virtual Museum of Censorship in Lebanon doesn’t just display censorship of the past, it also supports artists who have been subject to censorship, raises awareness about Lebanon’s censorship practices and advocates for changing the law while holding authorities accountable. “Lebanon’s censorship practices and laws are outdated and the bureaucracy is complicated,” explains an activist […]

Lebanon: Anti-censorship play receives surprise approval

Locked in a two-year battle with Lebanon’s General Security bureau, playwright Lucien Bourjeily never imagined his verbatim ‘docuplay’ about the censorship process would make it past the censors. But it did. By Jessica Holland A play that examines Lebanon’s censorship system has been approved by the country’s office in charge of artistic permits, a decision […]

Lebanon: Theatre director claims ‘victory’ after receiving passport back

Lebanese theatre director Lucien Bourjeily said General Security returned his passport which the security apparatus had confiscated for unclear reasons. Lucien Bourjeily announced on his Facebook page that it was a “victory” over what he called an arbitrary confiscation and a curb on his freedom of movement. The director was shortlisted for a Freedom of […]

Lebanon: Increase in cultural censorship

“The alarming security situation in 2013 had a negative impact on media and cultural freedom in Lebanon,” wrote Firas Talhouk in the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom’s annual report on press and cultural freedom in the Levant. Censorship of media, media activists and bloggers increases during periods of political tension – the same […]

UK: Four artists shortlisted for Freedom of Expression Awards 2014

British theatre producer David Cecil, Lebanese playwright Lucien Bourjeily, Egyptian rapper Mayam Mahmoud and the Turkish writer Arikan are shortlisted for the Index Awards 2014, which during 14 years have honoured some of the most remarkable fighters for free expression from around the world. The award show takes place in London, United Kingdom, on 20 […]

Lebanon: Inconsistent and bizarre censorship practices

March, a Lebanese NGO, have been documenting the obscure and arbitrary censorship practices in Lebanon via their ‘Virtual Museum of Censorship’ since the group was founded in 2011. In March 2014, Global Post published an in-depth coverage of their work and the current censorship practices in the country. “To describe their findings as bizarre would […]

Lebanon: Theatre play banned in ‘climate of fear’

On 28 August 2013, director and filmmaker Lucien Bourjeily was summoned to the Lebanese Censorship Bureau and told that his play, ‘Will It Pass or Not?’, could not go ahead. The play, which tackles the theme of censorship head on, poses the difficult question that any Lebanese artist who explores controversial or sensitive issues must consider. The Winter 2013 […]

Artist Alert: October 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 14 November 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Artist Alert: August and September 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 21 October 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Lebanon: Two films removed from film festival programme

The administration of the Beirut International Film Festival announced in a press release that Lebanon’s film censorship board has denied permission to screen the Lebanese short ‘Wahibatouka al-Moutaa’ (I Offered You Pleasure) and the French feature ‘L’Inconnu du Lac’ (Stranger by the Lake). The Daily Star – 3 October 2013: Beirut International Film Festival faces […]

Artist Alert: June 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published at article19.org on 17 July 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Lebanon/UAE: British comedian cancels tour after threats

British comedian and actor Russell Brand had been booked to perform in United Arab Emirates and Lebanon on his ‘Messiah Complex’ world tour, but those gigs have now been cancelled because of threats from religious groups. “I was told that if I went there there would be problems,” Russell Brand told Radio 5live: “The venue […]

Lebanon: Award-winning film banned for being shot in Israel

Lebanese authorities have banned the award-winning film ‘The Attack’ from cinemas in the country because it was partly shot in Tel Aviv using Israeli actors. “I regret to inform you that the Interior Minister of Lebanon, Minister (Marwan) Charbel, has decided to punish us and the film by banning it… claiming that the reason for […]

Lebanon: Censored film director initiates legal case against the state

All three of Lebanese director Danielle Arbid’s films have been banned in her native Lebanon. She has initiated a legal case against censorship and the Lebanese state – the first trial of its kind. “This is in motion. If we win, this will help other directors and artists to be more conscious of their rights. […]

Comments on Lebanon’s censorship situtation

Tarek Joseph Chemaly, a Lebanese artist and university lecturer, published a personal comment about censorship of the arts in Lebanon. And according to Giedre Steikunaite, a freelance writer currently based in London, wrote an article about censorship in Lebanon for New Internationalist. Creative acts of resistance are springing up in Lebanon in direct response to […]

Lebanon: Youtube-series to tackle the thorny issue of censorship

A new Lebanese web-series, ‘MAMNOU3’, was launched on 1 July 2012. The series is a mockumentary account of what goes down in one of Lebanon’s most infamous administrative departments, the General Security’s censorship bureau. “At first sight it does seem that Lebanon has enjoyed wider freedoms than the rest of the Arab world. In reality, […]

Lebanon: Two stand-up comedians detained for breaching public morality

This was reported by al-Akhbar newspaper on 24 April 2012. Edmond Haddad, known for his role on al-Jadeed television’s Chi.N.N. comedy show, and Rawiya al-Shab, who is a theatre and film actress, were detained for a stand-up show they presented in 2009 at a pub in Gemmayzeh. A local media outlet was covering the event […]

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 […]

Study on censorship in Lebanon: law and practice

This study aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of censorship in Lebanon. The publishers hope “it will allow the many local artistic and cultural actors the opportunity to lobby for the most appropriate legislative amendments to the current censorship regulations which are currently not conducive to their work.” The study provides an extended definition of […]

Lebanon: Comprehensive assessment of censorship in Lebanon

Executive Summary This study aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of censorship in Lebanon which will hopefully allow the many local artistic and cultural actors the opportunity to lobby for the most appropriate legislative amendments to the current censorship regulations which are currently not conducive to their work. Thus accordingly, the study provides an extended […]

 

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