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Film banned

(BCHR/IFEX) - The Hollywood film "The Kingdom", which explores the "war on terror" through a fictional story happening in Saudi Arabia, has been banned in Bahrain. This act was confirmed by the Publication and Press Directorate of the Ministry on Information without indicating the reasons behind the censorship order.

The film depicts an FBI investigation of two terrorist bombing attacks that took place in Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh in May 2003 and in Al-Khobar in June 1996, during which over 100 people of different nationalities were killed.

Previously, the Bahraini authorities had banned other films from being viewed in cinemas, including the religious film "The Passion of the Christ", which was banned last year on the grounds that it was against Islam because it depicted a prophet (Jesus).

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concerns at how freedom of expression is being targeted and curtailed. This ban is part of a long series of prohibitions and censorship which did not spare artistic products, novels and documentaries.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the Bahraini authorities:
- urging them to lift the ban on films of a documentary nature which exhibit no offence to public beliefs and/or traditions
- asking that they cease making decisions on behalf of the public and viewers
- urging them to take measures to amend Press and Publication Decree code no 47 of 2002 to ensure its compliance with international declarations and covenants

His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa
King of Bahrain
Riffa, Bahrain
Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa
Cabinet Prime Minister
Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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