CAIRO: The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the complaint filed to the Prosecutor General calling for banning the movie “678” about sexual harassment, in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The Social Justice Association for Human Rights (SAJHR) filed a complaint to the Prosecutor General earlier this week claiming that the film “678” incites women to use violence against men and demanded the movie be pulled and banned from theaters.
The culture and media committee of the Social Justice Party also filed a similar complaint last week, describing the film as offensive and claimed it had a negative impact o Egypt’s image abroad.
“ANHRI is surprised how an organization that [claims to defend] human rights can [assign itself as] a guardian over the Egyptian people and decide to deprive them from a work of art that’s being presented in theatres now,” the statement said.
The statement added that the complaint was a violation of freedom of expression and creativity, that’s guaranteed by international conventions.
“A great number of NGOs claiming to be human rights organizations appeared in 2010,” Gamal Eid, executive director of ANHRI told Daily News Egypt. “But these organizations accommodate the government and conservatives in the community while ignoring human rights.”
“We describe these organizations as “complicit” organizations,” Eid added.
SJAHR stated in the complaint that the movie incites women to use sharp objects to attack their sexual harassers in the groin area causing impotence instead of resorting to the legal system to protect their rights.
The Social Justice Party presented a different argument. “The movie shows that most Egyptian men sexually harass women, but this isn’t true. These are very rare incidents and this movie negatively portrays Egypt to audiences abroad,” head of the Social Justice Party Mohamed Abdel Aal told Daily News Egypt.
“Confiscating and monitoring creative work is completely unacceptable,” the ANHRI statement read. “Artists should have complete freedom to express their views and ideas in their artwork … and the public has the right to view their artwork and evaluate it based on their own free will.”
Abdel-Aal said he supported freedom of expression, but within limits. “A person is free as long as his freedom doesn’t affect others,” Abdel Aal said.
“The movie isn’t creative at all and has a very shallow perspective on the problem of sexual harassment in Egypt,” he added.
Scriptwriter and director Mohammed Diab stated in an interview with “El A’ashera Masa’an” program on Dream TV last week that his aim from the movie was to raise awareness about the issue that has long plagued the Egyptian community.
He added that the movie attempts to change the community’s perception towards women and encourage women and their families to defend their rights against sexual harassment through legal methods without being stigmatized.
“People can always express their opinions freely and criticize art if they disagree with it, but we are against confiscating art altogether,” Eid said.