Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ratings: Not just for films anymore

Not only is Thailand's Ministry of Culture planning a motion-picture ratings scheme, it is also going to rate books.

However, the Ministry's approach to rating books is markedly different from the heavy handed tactics it is using for film ratings.

According to a Nation article yesterday, the Culture Ministry has backed off a plan to censor romantic scenes from translated novels, after members of the public e-mailed the Ministry with their objections. (The web address for the Ministry is, which is incorrectly stated in The Nation's article.)

Culture Minister Khunying Khaisri Sri-aroon, obviously more a fan of novels than films, said she disagreed with the proposal to cut "romantic" scenes from translated novels because "it would ruin the taste for readers", according to The Nation.

She said she would invite national artists, academics and publishers to formulate a rating criteria.

That right there is more consideration than filmmakers have received as the National Legislative Assembly closes in on passing a harsh new law that will both have the most restrictive film ratings system in the world, and increase the government's power to censor and outright ban films. Filmmakers might have been consulted about the draft law, and they have raised objections to it, but those objections aren't being heard.

Why aren't filmmakers, which are included among the ranks of National Artists, being given the same consideration?

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