A harsh new film law
The draft Film and Video Act would allow government to ban films, take away freedom of expression, the Free Thai Cinema Movement says
A harsh new film law
The Free Thai Cinema Movement to protest outside the Parliament House on Wednesday morning (November 28), following up their call for the removal of the state’s power of censorship from the Film and Video Act. Photo courtesy of www.prachathai.com
Poet and writer Jiranan Pitchpreecha led about 30 artists and filmmakers of the Free Thai Cinema Movement to protest outside the Parliament House on Wednesday morning (November 28), following up their call for the removal of the state's power of censorship from the Film and Video Act.
Jiranan submitted an open letter to Wallop Tangkananurak, a member of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) panel considering the act. The assembly is due to begin deliberating the draft act this week.
"The movement believes the new Film Act will impact on the freedom of expression of filmmakers as well as human rights of audiences, especially youths, who will be deprived of the opportunity to develop intellectual and analytical skills," the letter said.
The group has asked that the provisions that empower the state to ban films and order filmmakers to cut scenes judged inappropriate, be stricken from the draft law. The filmmakers believe that the wording of the law is overly vague, and open to broad interpretation.
They also requested the NLA to consider increasing the number of non-government members on the proposed film-ratings board. As the draft act stands now, mainly bureaucrats and government-appointed representatives would sit on the ratings board. Led by prime minister, the board members would include ministers of Culture and Tourism and Sports ministries, as well as general secretaries from other ministries.
The Free Thai Cinema Movement wants the government to discuss the content of the new Film and Video Act, which has been drafted to replace the existing Film Act of 1930.
Among the filmmakers participating in Wednesday's demonstration were directors Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wisit Sasanatieng, Pimpaka Towira and artist Manit Sriwanichapoom.
Culture Minister Khunying Khaisri Sriarun said later that the composition of the film ratings board has already been decided by the NLA committee.
The committee is now working on the structure of the ratings system, she said, and the full Film and Video Act is expected to come before the entire NLA during the second week of December.
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