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Film banned for allegedly "endangering public security"

(ANHRI/IFEX) - ANHRI condemns the decision of the Lebanese Censor Board to ban the Lebanese film "Beirut Bil Layl" ("Beirut Hotel" in English) from being screened in movie theatres, on the grounds that it endangers the Lebanese public security. The movie, however, was remarkably successful at the Locarno International Film Festival.

Director Danielle Arbid publicised the ban via her Facebook page. She asked her fans to "please spread the word and mobilize against this censorship from the Middle Ages." The film was originally scheduled to be released in Lebanon in January.

The film is the story of a Lebanese woman who meets a French man at a nightclub in Beirut and their ensuing relationship. When the French man asks her uncle for her hand in marriage, her uncle refuses, believing that he works as a spy.

"The criteria for evaluating films and other works should be based on technical considerations, putting aside political ones. If not, it will inevitably result in a deterioration of freedom of opinion and expression," said ANHRI.

"It is not the first time that a film was censored this year. A number of films have been banned on different occasions for political reasons, rather than technical ones," added ANHRI.

ANHRI asks the Lebanese authorities to "reverse the ban, respect freedom of opinion and expression, and to stop stifling creativity."

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