Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Our World: Saudi Arabia Censorship on TV


I watched the movie "Music and Lyrics" recently here in Saudi Arabia on the MBC channels (Middle East Broadcasting Center).  Music and Lyrics is a romantic comedy that stars Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant.  It was very distracting watching this movie because there was so much censorship - all the female characters' bare arms, shoulders, and upper chests were blurred out in all of the scenes.  This type of censorship is also done on Saudia Airlines flights on all their in-flight entertainment.


So, why is Hugh Grant's chest area blurred out, you might ask?  This actually shows the lengths to which censorship goes here in Saudi Arabia.  Hugh was wearing a necklace of a cross - so, seeing as how it is a symbol of Christianity, it was blurred out in all of the scenes he was wearing it in the movie as well.  I've even seen children's books with Porky Pig blacked out with marker - because pork is forbidden here in the Kingdom.  I don't really understand why blacking out the mere image of a cartoon pig is seen as a threat to the people these censors are supposedly protecting from things that are haram (forbidden).  It's really taken to quite an extreme here.


This is actress Haley Bennett all blurred out in the movie "Music and Lyrics" because her skin was exposed contrary to Islamic standards.  My problem with all of this censorship is the inconsistency to which these standards are applied.  I'm watching another movie right now called "Divergent" on MBC2, and in it actress Shailene Woodley has exposed arms and chest throughout the movie, yet there is no blurring out at all in this movie.  The inconsistency with this censorship here drives me nuts...




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7 comments:

William Kendall said...

That is ridiculous.

Lady Fi said...

I remember showing Sound of Music to my students in China in the 1980s and it was a surprise to see most of it was censored!!

Susie of Arabia said...

Wow, Lady Fi - Sound of Music? I don't recall it being that risque!!!

Photo Cache said...

This is one thing I never even thought about.

Worth a Thousand Words

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Interesting, maybe there's a renegade censor on staff.

Ch4 said...

You should check out censorship in India.

Kalpanaa M said...

Fascinating insights into what life is like in Saudi Arabia.