Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Custody Over Artwork, A Threat to Freedom of Creation

As reported by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) on July 5th , the Egyptian Parliament went beyond its assigned jurisdiction when it issued a statement demanding the removal of specific scenes from a film with political overtones.

The film, “Yacoubian Building,” was previously approved for viewing by the Egyptian Censorship, yet the Peoples Assembly (Parliament) decided to act as another censorship office and demanded the Culture and Media Committee to examine the film.

According to this piece,

“EOHR believes that this statement constitutes a drawback for freedom of expression and opinion, which contradicts with Article 47 of the Egyptian Constitution, which permits freedom of expression, and Article 49, which permits freedom of art and literature. This statement also contradicts with Egypt's international obligations, which is binding according to Article 151 of the Constitution, such as the ICCPR which furnished the freedoms of opinion, expression, thought and belief. This attitude makes the Parliament acts as a censorship on art, which is not one of the Parliaments jurisdictions.

“The Peoples Assembly should be viewing other issues which fall under its jurisdiction rather than acting as a censorship office. The role of the Parliament is to question the government when it restricts freedom of creativity and art, in stead of attacking these freedoms. Its worth-mentioning that in last June the Egyptian Parliament banned the American film " The Da Vinci Code", and the Minister of Culture ordered to confiscate the novel on which the film is based on baring the same title and written by Dan Brawn.

“EOHR reaffirms that putting artworks on trial from a political or a religious perspective is an omen for further political and religious restrictions on human thoughts, especially that politics and religion are always subjected to misinterpretation from those who enforce such restrictions, which are also human.”

To read this article in full, click here


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