Today’s Editorial, November 23: Censorship

The controversy surrounding the movie Get Rich or Die Tryin’ has the Government thinking about the regulation of films.

Some would call that censorship.

The legislation for a Cinematographic Authority already exists, but its board hasn’t met in several years now.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts has indicated there is a need for film regulation here because the issue can’t be left to cinema proprietors themselves. He has also said he wants to clarify the law for the Cinematographic Authority.

This all started when Get Rich or Die Tryin’ ran afoul of the Cayman Ministers’ Association, which called for the film to be banned here.

CMA president Pastor Al Ebanks said it wasn’t the content of the movie he objected to, but the violence that followed its showing in certain places in the United States.

Certainly, it would be problematic if a Cinematography Authority starts banning films that are shown freely in places like the United States, Canada or the UK based on their content.

Some have said Get Rich or Die Tryin’ glorifies gang violence, but the same could be said for such acclaimed films as the Godfather trilogy, the cult-classics Scarface and Goodfellas, and nearly every film ever directed by Quentin Tarantino. Should they all be banned here, too?

You want violence, trying watching Saving Private Ryan, the most recent instalment of Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings series, or even The Passion of the Christ.

Should one kind of violence be more acceptable than other violence? Should violence based on a true story be more acceptable than fictional violence?

What about films with other controversial content? Should the biopic Kinsey be banned here because it openly deals with sexual matters including homosexuality?

The Minister’s Association is concerned about the effects of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ here. But what about films like The Fast and The Furious, which glorify street racing and speeding, something which annually kills more young people here than gang violence?

And should the Cinematography Authority make reactionary decisions based on the effects a film had on audiences in the urban United States or anywhere else for that matter?

If the Government is going to ban a movie from a cinema, woult it also ban it here on DVD, or on the cable networks? Would Get Rich or Die Tryin’ evoke a different reaction if eight teenagers watched it together in a living room?

These are all difficult questions. The Government wants to promote a harmonious, crime-free society, but censorship is a slippery slope that should be considered thoroughly before undertaking.

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