Monday, October 24, 2005

Snip snip

Remember this:

Censored

A royal decree came out yesterday that transfers "
the prerogative of endorsing “classified arts”" from the Ministry of Heritage and Culture to the Ministry of Information. In other words all forms of art censorship will from now on be in the same ministry. The people with the big black markers for censoring magazines will now be working with the people with scissors who chop the movies we see in the cinemas.

It makes sense to have one ministry in charge of all censorship. But then again, you presently have people in the Ministry of Information who think that a picture of a woman in a bikini is obscene and try to cover it in black ink. The film censors at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture have been a bit more lenient and merciful with their scissors though they sometimes go crazy and start cutting arbitrarily just to piss us off. However, all the existing staff who do this job in the Ministry of Heritage and Culture will be transferred to the Ministry of Information so we shouldn't expect any radical changes except if the Minister of Information has a mandate to change how things are.

10 years ago the Ministry of Information fought hard to be given control of the internet before access was launched in Oman. They lost that fight because Omantel voluntarily chose self-censorship, which turned out to be worst than imposed censorship.

Let's wait and see.

7 comments:

Blue Chi said...

Thanks for sharing, I don't think that they'll be worse, or that is what I hope.

Sleepless In Muscat said...

hey Muscati..

i never knew anything about this battle between the MoI and OmanTel..

do you have any more information about it? And what's the difference between self and imposed censorship?

muscati said...

Ali, I can't give you any more information because it was never public. The launch of internet kept getting delayed back then and the rumors were because of an internal fight in the government over who gets to control it. The Ministry of Information wanted to have control of what websites can be accessed in Oman. I guess they wanted the ability to continue to control access to information in Oman. As it is they go through every single publication that enters Oman and even delay international newspapers by half a day or a day.

Omantel won that battle. I don't know what happened behind the scenes that allowed them to win. But as a result of that win Omantel blocks all sites which it thinks might be inappropriate for viewing in Oman. I believe that their fear of losing control makes them extra strict in their self-censorship.

Sowhat said...

thanks for sharing ...

i dont know in what basis they do the censoring films.. cause sometimes they cut scences of kisses and some times they are leaving some ratedd scense ..

TI3GIB said...

I wonder why the belly button is off limits ? ...

Samyah said...

I've always thought that they must really not want us to see those tiny bits of flesh if they have to mark over EVERY single magazine cover. Seems pointless to me, especially when you walk around the malls and they've got poster size pictures that are worse and uncensored :os

And btw, I HATE it when they cut off bits of the movie! There's bits of the story you miss and it ruins the next few minutes of the movie for you!

OceanDream said...

Do any of you remember when they played english movies on Oman tv once a week a really long time ago? When a kissing scene comes on, they freeze the picture on something else but the sound continues. So you would be looking at a picture of a bag on a table making smooching sounds :)