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Censorship Chairman Clarifies More Censorship, Not Less

Abd El Sattar Fathy has spoken out clarify what he meant when he announced that censorship of films would come to an end in Egypt.

We were right to be skeptical when news broke that the head of Egypt’s state censorship board took to television to say that they would be implementing the PG rating system, and reducing censorship in films. Realising that his words have been misinterpreted, the censorship board spoke out on Wednesday to clarify that instead of relieving censorship restriction, that they would in fact do the opposite.

Lost in translation, the Chairman of the Censorship Bureau has spent the last couple of days clarifying what he meant when he attempted to explain the implementation of the PG system. His initial announcement was misinterpreted to suggest that they would stop censoring or deleting scenes from films, however that is not the case as Abd El Sattar Fathy clarifies that “Of course, if it is a scene of explicit sex it will be removed, images of male and female genitalia as well as nudity scenes will also be removed."

Fathy continues to hammer the message home saying that “any movie that is clearly promoting pornography, homosexuality or that is damaging Egypt’s relations with some specific countries will still be rejected,” adding that the new measure "would not prevent" deleting scenes of "atheism" or that incite "sectarian strife." That would suggest that they would have banned V for Vendetta, which was released and beloved by Egyptians during Mubarak reign, who in turn started selling the iconic masks in Tahrir during the uprising. 

Clearly annoyed by the misinterpreted announcement, Fathy asked AlArabiya.net "some people misunderstood the change in rules that we are allowing porn movies, and they are just ignorant that don't understand what PG means. Do you want me to easily cancel censorship in Egypt, who is going to protect anyone going to the movies or watching tv? Can we guarantee that none of the directors will shoot a porn movie? Of course not," adding "we are changing some rules but don't say we are cancelling censorship."

The short answer to his question is yes, we do want you to cancel censorship, as we are old enough to make our own decisions and with access to the internet will watch what we want uncensored anyway. The new changes to be implemented will largely be used to prevent children from watching films not suitable to their age group.

Fathy explains that the PG rating system will classify films into three age categories, 12, 15 and 18. In earlier statements to Reuters Arabic, Fathy described the PG rating system as "one of the mechanisms of censorship.”

As it stands the board is looking to implement the PG system as soon as possible but that the board will need to be trained which could take up to two months. For a minute, Egypt looked to be turning a new leaf, however Fathy has made it clear that this is not the case, and that if anything Egypt is about to implement more censorship instead of less.