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Authorities ban Iranian documentary from Lebanese film festival

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 21 June 2011 - ANHRI condemns the revoking of the license of the Iranian movie "Green Days" by the Lebanese security forces. The film was scheduled to screen on Monday 20 June 2011 as part of the "Banned Movies Festival", held in Beirut from 22 to 26 June.

The National Security department informed the director of the Beirut International Film Festival, Colette Nawfal, that the license for the screening of the film had been revoked.

"Green Day" is a documentary directed by Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf. It covers the protests organized by the Iranian opposition following the 2009 presidential elections, which resulted in the election of current President Ahmed Ahmadi Nejad.

This is not the first time that Lebanese authorities have banned the movie. In 2010, "Green Days" was prevented from being screened at the Beirut International Film Festival after Iranian President Ahmadi Nejad visited Lebanon.

"Freedom of expression and artistic creativity is subjected to a lot of censorship in Lebanon. A number of entities are responsible for licencing. Moreover, these entities do not have the necessary experience or specialization to carry out this task as some of them are political parties and private companies. The National Security Office also plays a dangerous role in controlling creativity in Lebanon. Lebanese authorities must therefore ensure that the licensing and censoring system is changed, to protect freedom of expression and creativity," ANHRI said.

The organisation added, "'Green Days' documents the protests in Iran, it does not refer to the situation in Lebanon. The movie censors allowed the film to go ahead but the Lebanese National Security decided to ban the documentary a few days before it was scheduled to be screened. This move opened the door to interpretations that the ban was a result of cooperation between Iranian authorities and their counterparts in Lebanon."

ANHRI urges the Lebanese authorities to review the decision to ban the Iranian movie 'Green Days', allow the movie to be screened as scheduled, and seriously consider the consequences of suppressing creativity.

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