29 April 2010

 

Banned in Cambodia? Already?

Wow, that was fast. We've only just completed the public TV version of Who Killed Chea Vichea?, and already a group of Cambodian unions plans to show it. In Cambodia, where it counts most. Their aim is to highlight the government's failure to conduct a real investigation of the murder.

What's really impressive is that they plan to screen it in public, this Saturday after their traditional Labor Day march, in the park near the spot where Vichea was killed. Given the Cambodian government's track record, they're taking a big risk. 

See the Phnom Penh Post: Group to Screen Vichea Film

Is the Cambodian government committed to respecting human rights? This screening will put the government to the test. We're told the authorities initially said that the Ministry of Interior would have to see the film first to clear it. We at Loud Mouth Films don't approve of prior censorship, so we wouldn't have agreed to that. But Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema now says the city will not approve the screening because the film “has no license from related ministries.”

See Voice of America: Authorities Ban Screening of Chea Vichea Film

If the union organizing committee decides to go ahead with a public screening, without permission, we don't know what what will happen.

As filmmakers we believe that all people who want to see a film should be able to see it, with no prior censorship and without consideration of its political content. Especially when it comes to Cambodians being able to see this film. That doesn't necessarily mean the city government is obliged to agree that any film can be screened on any public property at any time -- just that they have to treat all films equally without regard to politics. Any government that denies its own citizens freedom of information cannot be called a democracy.

We'll do our best to keep you updated here on our blog, and we'll let you know if there's anything you can do to help.

We take great pride in the fact that the union organizers in Cambodia think this film is so important. We hope that that Saturday proceeds peacefully, and that the rights of the Cambodian people are respected.

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