Thailand: Ban on LGBT-themed film stands

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Thailand’s Administrative Court ruled on 25 December 2015 that the five-year ban on the 2010 LGBT film ‘Insects in the Backyard’ will remain in effect, reported Film Journal International.

The primary evidence cited is that the movie has a brief scene of graphic sexual intercourse, violating section 287 of the criminal code that states content can be banned if it has a “negative impact on public morality and social decency”.

The scene in question is three seconds long in the 93-minute-long movie. Judges did rule that the movie could be screened if the short scene were cut, but the film would still be rated 20+, meaning only people aged 20 and over could watch it.

The Ministry of Culture’s National Film Board initially banned the film in December 2010 and the film’s director Tanwarin Sukkhapisit took the case to court as an assault on freedom of expression. Sukkhapisit was the first director to initiate such a case since the controversial 2008 Film Act took hold.

The decision to uphold the five-year ban came as a slight surprise as one of the judges in early December 2015 suggested the ban should be revoked, newspaper Bangkok Post reported.

In the final ruling, the same judge wrote the dissenting opinion that the movie’s intent was to show a troubled family and that the sexuality within was a minor part of the overall story, rather than the focus.

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Sources

» Film Journal International – 14 January 2016:
Thai court reaffirms ban on LGBT film

» Bangkok Post – 26 December 2015:
Court ruling affirms gay-themed film violates criminal code


Related information

» Artsfreedom.org – 10 November 2015:
Thailand: Banned movie re-cut and on screens

» Artsfreedom.org – 5 March 2015:
Thailand: Imprisonment of student actors stir criticism

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