Countries that often object to sexual content – Malaysia, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and India – have banned ‘Fifty Shades’ from cinema theatres. Authorities in Russia’s North Caucasus have also banned the film.
In Malaysia, the head of the film censorship board called it “more pornography than a movie”, according to Hollywood trade publication Variety.
The distributor in Indonesia said the film did not meet the country’s censorship standards.
Kenyan authorities gave no reason for their ban but have a history of censoring sexually explicit content. They prohibited the 2013 blockbuster ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ – a film that contains graphic depictions of sex and drugs.
Widespread ban on screening ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ in Russia’s North Caucasus is benefiting one city which decided to allow the film. Pyatigorsk in Stavropol Territory bucked the regional trend by allowing the erotic drama to be shown in its cinemas. Its neighbouring majority-Muslim republics announced a ban earlier this month, citing morality concerns over the film’s sexual content. But that hasn’t deterred intrepid fans, who are flocking to Pyatigorsk’s cinemas to see the film, the Regnum news agency reports.
India‘s government censors have said they will not allow the big-screen adaptation of erotic novel to be shown in Indian cinemas, a decision most had anticipated in the largely conservative country. The chief executive of the Central Board of Film Certification, Shravan Kumar, declined to say why the panel refused to approve the film adaptation, but said Universal Pictures, the Comcast Corp unit that released the film, could appeal the decision. A Universal Pictures source familiar with the review process said the board had objected to some of the film’s dialogue, even after the studio made voluntary edits to the film to tone down its sex scenes and removed all nudity.
“There is freedom to say there is freedom, but just to praise the ruling regime, and never to criticise or challenge. However, this political environment has also been a blessing in disguise as it has encouraged writers to embrace the liberties of the internet to share and distribute their writings to much bigger audiences. Borders have been easily scaled over. And literature is a fluid that seeps through to every place where there are people willing to dip their toes while reading.”
» The Standard: Censorship and Zimbabwean literature