Cinema and freedom of expression

Recent years have seen Iran target a growing number of its filmmakers, actors and actresses for portraying realities in their country other than the official versions. The fact that many of these people are still in prison and others are subject to prohibitions that prevent them from going about their profession illustrates the desperate efforts of the Iranian authorities to supress all dissent. Some directors have chosen exile and the opportunity to work freely, while others like Jahar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof have decided to stay and use their international media reach to press for change.

Since January 2010, broadcasting on foreign television networks without having received authorisation to do so is considered tantamount to “working with enemy security services” and is forbidden, as is giving interviews to international human rights organisations. Imprisonment is also used as a warning to dissuade the new generations of up and coming filmmakers.

Amnesty International has been drawing attention to the repression suffered by the Iranian film sector since September 2011, when six of its filmmakers were arrested, three of whom could well still be in prison as their whereabouts is unknown. Amnesty International considers these people to be prisoners of conscience; they have been sentenced to prison solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression in the scope of their work.

Film: This is Not a Film

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  • San Sebastián Donostia 2016
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