BEIRUT: Lebanon's Interior Ministry has overturned a directive to ban Steven Spielberg's drama, "The Post," after the country's prime minister intervened to allow the screening of the movie in Lebanese theaters, the head of the movie's distribution group in Lebanon told Annahar Wednesday.
Censorship authorities at the General Security agency, a body affiliated with the Interior Ministry, had issued a directive barring the screening of the movie upon the recommendation of a six-member committee from the Ministry of Economy. Though the General Security directive needed to be signed by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk to enter into effect, it was considered a formality that is unlikely to stop the ban.
The ban sparked an outcry on social media, prompting both Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to urge Mashnouq to reverse the ban, Carlo Vincente, General Manager of Italia Films, the movie's distribution group, told Annahar Wednesday.
"After garnering a lot of support from the public on social media to overturn the ban, Both PM Hariri and FM Bassil phoned Mashnouk, who has the final say, to permit the movie's screening across Lebanese theatres," Vincente said.
Though "The Post" had initially passed the government's normal screening procedures, the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon (CBSIL) put pressure on the government to block the film over its director's ties to Israel.
Spielberg, who hails from a Jewish family, was blacklisted by the Arab League's Central Boycott Office after making a $1 million donation to Israel during the 2006 conflict with Lebanon.
Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and has a decades-old law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling or having contacts with Israelis.
The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, is a thrilling drama about the Washington Post’s Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee, as they expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades. It has already garnered critical acclaim, as well as some award nominations.
The film will be released on January 18th in Lebanon.
"This is a victory for every Lebanese believing in freedom," an official statement from Italia Films read.
In May 2017, Lebanon officially banned the superhero movie Wonder Woman because the lead actress, Gal Gadot, is Israeli.
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