Lebanon bans The Post movie

The Post, starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep (both above) has been banned in Lebanon because of director Steven Spielberg's associations with Israel.
The Post, starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep (both above) has been banned in Lebanon because of director Steven Spielberg's associations with Israel.PHOTO: UIP

BEIRUT • Wonder Woman could not dodge Lebanon's censors last year. Now, Steven Spielberg has also not made the cut.

The country has banned his movie The Post because of the director's associations with Israel, amid an intensifying climate of censorship in what has historically been one of the Arab world's freest countries.

The Censorship Committee of the General Security Directorate decided to ban Spielberg's film in accordance with laws obliging Lebanon to enforce the Arab League's boycott of Israel.

Spielberg, who is Jewish, was placed on the Arab League blacklist of sanctioned individuals after his foundation gave a US$1-million (S$1.32-million) donation to relief efforts in Israel during its 2006 war with Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.

Most of his subsequent films have, however, been shown in that country without problems.

Free speech advocates in Lebanon noted the irony of banning a movie whose plot promotes press freedoms.

The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, tells the story of the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham's decision to defy attempts by the courts to suppress reporting of the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War.

"Why is The Post on the chopping block?" asked Gino Raidy of advocacy group March, on his blog. "Is it because it idolises journalists who stand up to the powers that be when they do wrong, and choose truth and justice over government bullying?"

Wonder Woman was refused permission to be shown last year because lead actress, Gal Gadot, is a citizen who had served in the Israeli military.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2018, with the headline 'Lebanon bans The Post movie'. Print Edition | Subscribe