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Authorities prevent screening of documentary in Beirut

(Maharat/IFEX) - 7 September 2010 - The Lebanese General Security Department has barred screening of the Lebanese director Degaulle Eid's documentary Chou sar (What happened) twice in less than a month.

The General Security Department's general directorate did not provide a screening license for the 75 minute documentary during the Lebanese Film Festival and, later on, did not allow it to be included in the Ayyam Beirut Assinemaiyat (Beirut cinema days) schedule.

The General Security Department did not present any justification for preventing screening of the movie. The movie's director, Eid, told Maharat in a telephone conversation that he did not receive any written notification, he was only informed verbally.

The movie is based on a personal experience Eid lived through during the Lebanese war, specifically a massacre 30 years ago, in 1980.

The approach in the documentary was humanitarian in nature and plainly provides names in order to learn from the past and influence the new generation, Eid stated. Eid also said the movie does not include sectarian incitement; on the contrary, it tells what really happened.

The movie was shown in Spain and Dubai in 2009 and 2010.

It should be noted that movies in Lebanon are subject to prior censorship by the General Security Department's general directorate by virtue of a law issued on 27 November 1974. Any violation of this law is punishable with a fine and the closure of the cinema that screened the movie for a period ranging from 15 days to three months.

The Maharat Foundation stresses the necessity of protecting the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right of people to be exposed to all thoughts and opinions without state restriction, especially ideas concerning the tragedy the Lebanese community lived through during the civil war.

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