Home Latest News ‘Joyland’ Cleared by Censor Board with Some Cuts

‘Joyland’ Cleared by Censor Board with Some Cuts

Award-winning film now likely to be released on its originally scheduled date of Nov. 18

by Staff Report

Screengrab from Joyland

Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) on Wednesday cleared award-winning film Joyland for commercial release nationwide after its certification had been withdrawn by the Information Ministry last week.

Salman Sufi, head of the Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit, announced the decision in a posting on Twitter. “The film Joyland has been cleared for release by the censor board review committee formed at the direction of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif,” he wrote. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and should be nourished within ambits of law,” he added, thanking the prime minister and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb for “safeguarding freedom of speech in Pakistan.”

Exactly a week before its release, the Information Ministry on Nov. 11 withdrew the certification for Joyland’s release over “highly objectionable material” that does not “conform with the social values and moral standards of our society.” The decision, coming after Pakistan had already picked the film as its entry to the to the 95th Academy Awards for the International Feature Film Award, drew mass outrage and social media campaigns globally, with critics questioning how a film that had already been cleared for release could be abruptly withdrawn.

Amidst the mounting criticism, the prime minister formed an eight-member committee comprising several federal ministers that reviewed the film and recommended a full board of the CBFC take a final decision on whether the film should be released or not. In its meeting on Wednesday night, the full board sought some minor cuts and allowed it to be released per schedule.

Joyland attracted controversy for featuring a relationship between a married man and transgender woman, with critics accusing it of promoting “immorality” in Pakistan. By contrast, defenders of free speech and expression have argued that if someone feels the movie is inappropriate, they should just not watch it, rather than imposing a blanket ban that impacts the entire country.

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