United Arab Emirates: end of censorship on films shown in cinemas

Films shown in cinemas in the Emirates will no longer be censored, authorities said on Sunday, announcing the creation of a new category of films banned to under-21s.

No more censorship in UAE cinemas. It will now be possible to watch films in their entirety, without a cut scene. Some feature films will, however, be banned for part of the population: films rated 21+ “will be distributed in their international version”, with strict control over compliance with age limits, the Media Regulatory Bureau announced on its Twitter account.

Censorship is a widespread practice in the Arab world, especially in the very conservative Gulf region. Films which include scenes considered to be capable of undermining local customs are often cut during editing, or even banned.

The Emirates, of which 90% of the population is made up of expatriates, have undertaken in recent years a vast project to modernize regulations, to become one of the most open countries in the Gulf. To strengthen the attractiveness of the Emirates, the authorities have notably authorized cohabitation, relaxed restrictions on alcohol, and offered long-term stays to foreigners.

The country has also announced that it will adopt from January 1 a Western-style weekend (Saturday-Sunday), while in other Muslim countries in the region, the weekend is Friday (day of the great prayer. ) and on Saturday.

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