Lebanon reverses ban on Spielberg’s ‘The Post’

Actors Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg are seen in this photograph received via the BBC, in London, Britain January 14, 2018. — Reuters pic
Actors Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg are seen in this photograph received via the BBC, in London, Britain January 14, 2018. — Reuters pic

BEIRUT, Jan 18 — The Lebanese government has allowed the release of Steven Spielberg’s latest film, The Post, overturning a ban by the General Security authority, a ministry said yesterday.

The security body had on Monday announced it was banning the Hollywood thriller to comply with an Arab League boycott targeting supporters of Israel.

In a rare move, the interior ministry chose not to sign off on the decision by General Security, which in addition to controlling Lebanon’s borders, is responsible for censoring films, plays, and books.

In a statement, it said Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouk “sees no objection to the broadcast of the film”, which “has no connection with Lebanon, or to the conflict with the Israeli enemy”.

The company distributing the film in Lebanon confirmed that the film, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, would be released in cinemas in Beirut and elsewhere on Thursday.

The acclaimed production tells the behind-the-scenes story of the 1971 publication by The Washington Post of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the lies behind US involvement in the Vietnam War.

Lebanon is divided on the boycott-driven bans, with some welcoming them as a bulwark against the “cultural normalisation” of Israel’s occupation.

Banned films can often be found in bootleg movie shops across the country for as little as one dollar, and even blacklisted books can sometimes be found in regular bookstores. — AFP

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