Against the Affront to Freedom of Expression in Barbados by the Barbados Board of Film Censors sign now




We, The Undersigned, are demanding that the Barbados Board of Film Censors:


a) reverse its decision to restrict freedom of expression by banning the film "Black Swan"
b) understand the meanings and intent of MPAA film ratings (or the rating from the films originating country), that is, to inform parents on the suitability of a film for
viewing by children*, and to protect artistic freedom.
c) Refrain from changing a films rating.
d) Hold a limited screening of films to unbiased members of the public and rely on their input before pronouncing a ban.


These will be expanded upon below.

Black Swan

The film "Black Swan" by director Darren Aronofsky, is a psychological thriller exploring the rigors of artistic endeavours and dedication, specifically, a ballet production of
Swan Lake, and the psychological toll such a pursuit takes on the mind of the artist. It portrays one of the possible transformations all artists undergo when seeking perfection
and artistic purity.
The Barbados Board of Film Censors chose to censor this film, without any discussion about its content with the public, and subsequently failing to publish adequately
explained reasons behind its decision. We believe that freedom of expression is a key pillar in a democratic society, and when leaders choose to censor material without
consulting the public, particularly artistic material which may be of cultural significance, our whole society loses. Indeed, in this case, it is patronizing that the board
doesn't think that Barbadians can handle a film that has won such prestigious awards, and that people the world over are enjoying. It is also puzzling that given the reasons for
banning Black Swan, other films which must have passed through the boards filters, and are blatant offenders of their criteria, such as the 7 "Saw" films, the "Crank" films, and
"Piranha 3D" were not similarly banned. Especially confusing is the fact that "Brokeback Mountain", which centers on a homosexual relationship, was allowed to be shown, while
Black swan, which has at best a single scene depicting an implied ersatz homosexual encounter (a mild technique showing state of mind) has been banned.

Banning art sets a dangerous precedent, which encourages those around the world who wish to restrict freedom of expression

Film Ratings

Film ratings provide parents with basic information about the content of films, so that they can determine a movies suitability for children under the age of 17. With the
exception of the MPAA NC-17 rating, once a child under 17 is accompanied by a parent or guardian, the child may view a film with a G, PG, PG-13, or even an R rating (though
generally, it is not appropriate for young children to view R rated films). Indeed the decision lies with the parents, and the board undermines this decision with their current
implementation of the ratings. For example, currently a PG-13 movie is interpreted as meaning no one under 13 is allowed to view the movie, when the true meaning of the rating is
"Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13".
Furthermore, the board should not change a films designated rating, the specific case being that of "The Passion of the Christ", which had an MPAA rating of "R" but a PG-13
rating in Barbados. This shows complete disregard for the process of vetting a films suitability, and, in the case of the downgrading, would have permitted access to violent
imagery to young children

Removing the ban on "Black Swan" would demonstrate commitment to freedom of expression and choice. Correct implementation and understanding of film ratings would demonstrate
commitment to parents' freedom of choice, to freedom of expression.
Holding a limited screening of films to members of the public before pronouncing a ban would show commitment to and the respect of the people's freedom of expression and self
determination.


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Erik LucasBy:
Politics and GovernmentIn:
Petition target:
Barbados Film Censorship Board

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