Censorship of movies wrong

I read the article ‘Theatre must be licensed’ published in the Caymanian Compass with great disappointment.

It seems the apathy of our government is endless as is its ability to be moved to action at the whims of a powerful few.

A Cinematographic Authority? Surely you have to be kidding me.

Am I in Afghanistan or some other extremist nation where what can be said and done publicly is so guarded that we must have entire government authorities dedicated to policing it at the highest levels?

For an Island that professes to desire freedom and constitutional rights we sure seem to love trampling on even the most basic of those rights. Are we saying we want freedom of speech but not the freedom to view a movie?

This Cinematographic Authority would be laughable if I didn’t realise they were being serious.

Its duties and powers as outlined in the paper are nothing more than blatant censorship and heavy handed governance.

Are we really so simple minded a society that we need five people sitting in a room deciding on what the rest of Cayman can and cannot watch? It appears so, how sad and frankly embarrassing for us.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no problem with people objecting to any movie being shown for any reason, religious or otherwise. That is your right and I support and defend your right to do so.

Those opinions and beliefs, however, should not infringe upon the rights of others who may have differing opinions or beliefs.

It also seems that many people who are objecting to the Golden Compass are cherry-picking what they get upset about.

Where was the outcry for The Omen? Has there ever been a more anti-Christian movie? Surely someone should have paid a big fine and spent six months in jail for showing that flick. I’m being facetious of course.

People wanting government to enforce its views on everyone else should make note that real freedom is about allowing people to support things that you would spend a lifetime arguing against.

In Cayman it seems oftentimes we promote freedom as long as it’s our kind of freedom.

Well that’s merely the same the justification all the extremists use, isn’t it?

If you don’t want yourself or your kids to go see the movie then don’t go see it.

Write a bunch of articles in the paper about it, call your friends and tell them not to go, stand outside the Cinema with picket signs for all I care but for goodness sakes don’t let the government start banning movies that other people want to watch.

That’s how religious extremists and Third World dictators deal with those who don’t believe what they believe; they force their beliefs onto everyone else.

If I go to see this movie or research its roots and I deem it’s not something I want my child to see it, then that is what will happen; simple. I don’t need the government making that decision for me. It obviously seems to have enough problems making smart decisions on its own to be worried about something as trivial as what I watch at the cinema.

At the very least if you’re going to start banning movies based on violence, sex, religion, vulgarity or whatever then do so without being hypocrites.

That means virtually all R and PG-13 rated movies have to be outlawed and then government has to start blocking satellite signals to stop people from watching these same movies in their homes.

Then of course we have to start blocking the Internet because these same things can easily be seen there as well.

After all, if we can’t be trusted to make a decision as to what movies we or our children are going to watch at the cinema the same concept should apply for watching at home, shouldn’t it?

It presents the same misguided danger for which government has to make the decisions for us, doesn’t it?

I do recall a couple years ago a member of government called for the banning of the show Sex and the City based on his own flawed ideology and likely political ambitions.

That idea was equally as misguided and embarrassing as this Cinematographic Authority, which is a call for censorship and a hindrance to freedom, plain and simple.

Potter Stewart once said ‘Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime’.

If that’s true, welcome to Caymanistan.

James Whittaker

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