Lebanon allows Spielberg film 'The Post' after censorship threat

01_15_The_Post

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. Officials said they could not remember the last time such a decision had been made. Lebanon does not recognize Israel as a country and boycotts its goods and cultural exports. Starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, it tells the nail-biting story of Katherine Graham, owner of The Washington Post, and her wrenching decision in 1971 to go public with the top-secret Pentagon Papers detailing government lying and malfeasance in the Vietnam war.

Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks attend "The Post" European Premeire at Odeon Leicester Square on January 10, in London, England. Spielberg violated the laws, which date to the 1950s, by making a contribution to relief efforts in Israel during its 2006 war with Lebanon.

"We are glad and pleased that justice, reason, and love of cinema has prevailed", the spokesman said, adding that he wanted to "thank everyone involved in the strong, united large popular support movement", including press, bloggers, and other opinion-makers who rallied in support of "The Post" after news of the ban broke.

The source said that the ban came as a shock.

But on Wednesday, the interior ministry decided not to sign off on the decision. The 1993 film included scenes shot in Jerusalem. Most of Spielberg's subsequent films have, however, been shown in Lebanon without problems - except that his name was blacked out from the poster advertising "The Adventures of Tintin".

The spokesman noted that, following "Schindler's List", other Spielberg movies have been regularly released in Lebanon. The commercially successful Wonderwoman was banned because it starred Gal Gadot, who served the Israeli military.

"Why is The Post on the chopping block?" asked Gino Raidy of the March advocacy group, on his blog.

Lebanon and Israel remain at war after a 2006 conflict which lasted a month and killed hundreds of Israeli soldiers and fighters for the Shiite militant group Hezbollah. ". This is a great day for freedom of expression in Lebanon".

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