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Friday, July 17, 2009

Government attempts to legislate morality has been an all-too-common theme around the world. No country seems immune to the unwarranted desire to dictate the morality of its citizens, including the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Russia, and now Ukraine.

The Ukrainian ministry of culture (read: censors) voted 9-5 to completely block the release of 'Bruno' in the country. They stated, "The film contains unjustified showing of genital organs and sexual relations and shows homosexual acts and homosexual perversions in an explicitly realist manner." They fear the movie's themes "could damage the morality of citizens [emphasis added]."

Ignoring the fact that bootleg copies of the film are likely already available throughout the country, after reading Ukraine's constitution, I see no statute that gives the government authority to legislate morality in the country (same as in the United States, et. al.). In fact, Article 4 states:

Human rights and freedoms and their guarantees determine the essence and orientation of the activity of the State. The State is answerable to the individual for its activity. To affirm and ensure human rights and freedoms is the main duty of the State.
Additionally, Article 15 declares, "Social life in Ukraine is based on the principles of political, economic and ideological diversity," and, "Censorship is prohibited [emphasis added]."

In the U.S., 'Bruno' topped the box office in its opening weekend, grossing over $30 million (while being shown in approximately half as many theatres as the Transformers and Ice Age sequels, but this is a result of private sector censorship - NOT public sector censorship - Fahrenheit 451, anyone?).

In China, films cannot promote sex, crime, violence, or gambling in order to pass government censorship requirements. However, they have shown a willingness to ease these restrictions, as China was the only country to show the 2007 film 'Casino Royale' completely uncut (no sex, crime, violence, or gambling there!).

Posted by Eleutherian

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