Friday, May 28, 2004

Effort seeks revision of censorship laws

Government officials and industry players are stepping up efforts to update the 74-year-old laws that govern the movie industry, according to the Bangkok Post.

Officials from four ministries that supervise various aspects of the film industry met last week to discuss amendments to the 1930 censorship law as well as proposals to consolidate regulatory authority under a single agency.

The censorship law, which puts films in the hands of police and other authorities before theatrical release, has been criticized as outdated and a stumbling block to the Thai film industry's growth.

Delegates are seeking a more supportive role from the government, which would include relaxing the censorship rules.

An agreement in principle was made to call for the establishment of a central body, tentatively named the Motion Picture Council, to oversee the industry The new body would both support and regulate the film industry with the aim of improving the quality of Thai films to make them competitive on the international stage.

At the meeting were officials from the ministries of commerce, tourism and sports, foreign affairs and culture, as well as representatives from the private sector.

Prawatsart Kunchorn Na Ayutthaya, RS Film's distribution director, said the government should replace its archaic legislation with a rating system to classify films, and leave the public free to choose.

He said the censorship system hindered industry development because it complicated the budgeting process, forcing producers to rein in their creativity to avoid the risk of having scenes cut.

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