Almost 350 smoking & drug abuse scenes in Egyptian Ramadan TV series so far: FTAF

Ahram Online , Wednesday 15 Jun 2016

The series Al-Tabbal, or The Drummer, sits at the top of the minsitry of social solidarity watchgroup (FTAF) 'blacklist' for smoking and drug consumption on the small screen

Ramadan TV
A snapshot from Al-Tabal (The Drummer) Ramadan TV series in which a character lights up a joint.

A total of 348 scenes featuring smoking and drug abuse have been aired in TV series in the first five days of the holy month of Ramadan, the social solidarity ministry's Fighting and Treating Addiction Fund (FTAF) said in a Wednesday statement

The FTAF said that smoking and drug scenes occupied 10 hours of airtime. A majority of the scenes, 272 of the 348, featured smoking, while drug and alcohol consumption was depicted in 76 scenes.

The fund compiled a blacklist to condemn series that feature heavy smoking and drug use and another list for TV series featuring fewer of such scenes.

Around 30 Egyptian TV series are airing on multiple TV channels this year. Each series runs for 30 episodes with each episode lasting between 35-40 minutes.

The series Al-Tabbal, or The Drummer, topped the blacklist with 25 smoking scenes and 10 drug consumption scenes.

Amir Karara, who plays the lead role in the Al-Tabbal, starred last Ramadan in Bucharest Alleyways, which topped the FTAF's blacklist for heavy smoking and drug abuse.

Coming in second on the blacklist is Al-Keif, which is a remake of a popular 1985 movie about two brothers who create an inexpensive formula for a potent drug and corner the drug market.

The FTAF stressed in its statement the necessity of maintaining a dialogue with drama makers to limit drugs and cigarettes, as per a protocol of understanding signed last year.

The nonbinding protocol, co-signed by the Fund and the Egyptian Actors' Union, had urged makers of television series and movies to abstain from portraying behaviour that encourages smoking and the consumption of drugs.

The FTAF and the union promised awards to dramas which discuss negative repercussions of smoking and drug abuse.

Last year, during the first 15 days of Ramadan the fund observed a total of 990 scenes that depict smoking and drug consumption, which lasted a total of 27 hours and 48 minutes.

The World Health Organization estimates that around a quarter of Egyptian adults smoke tobacco and about 50 percent of Egyptians are exposed to second-hand smoking in their homes.

Ramadan has been known as the official month of TV series, with tens of shows competing for prime time viewership.

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