Head of Egypt’s writers' union warns of campaign against artistic creativity

MENA, Saturday 17 Mar 2012

Egypt's writers' union head, Mohamed Salmawy, sounds alarm after frequent reports indicate censorship of artistic works

Mohammed Selmawy

The head of Egypt’s writers union, Mohamed Salmawy, warned on Wednesday against what he called "the escalating campaign" against the freedom of artistic creativity and the artists’ right to freely express their opinions. He demanded the erasing of red lines and removal of restrictions on artistic creativity.

Salmawy also condemned the "repeated attempts" to interfere with people's right to information.

What instigated Salmawy's statements are reports that Egypt’s minister of awqaf (Islamic affairs) banned the shooting of a movie called Farsh w Ghatta (Bed and Blanket) inside the Sayeda Nafisa Mosque because they claim it breaks Sharia (Islamic law).

"As long as the artist respected the law and the values of society, no restrictions should be set to limit their work" Selmawy asserted. Banning and censoring creativity was one of the reasons behind the fall of president Hosni Mubarak’s regime, claims Selmawy. He further stressed that state media should reflect the opinions and creations of all of Egyptians, whatever their trends or differences may be.

Recently ohter artistic productions have been censored. For instance, Egyptian state television banned a new song by a band called Karaoke for their explicit language. Cairo University has also banned the screening of the Iranian movie Infisal (Break Up) under pressure from Islamic students' association.

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