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Samoa stays silent about Milk movie ban

Mon 1 Jun 2009 In: International News

Amidst veiled accusations of homophobia, the Samoan Government is refusing to front up with reasons why its Principal Censor banned the gay rights-themed movie Milk from the island nation's large and small screens. Banned in Samoa: Sean Penn in 'Milk' When the Academy Award winning movie about the rise to public office and subsequent assassination of groundbreaking gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, was banned Principal Censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui would only say "There are rules and guidelines for these things." In early April Leiataua said he needed the approval of the Censorship Board chairman to comment, but no comment has been forthcoming. Leading Samoan human rights activist Ken Moala has angrily questioned the decision, saying "I do not think it should be banned. It is basically a documentary about the human endeavor to conquer something that people tend to discriminate against. It's really harmless; I don't know how it would affect Samoan lifestyle. It is totally different and not applicable to here." Moala points out that the censor regularly allows "movies that are violent and horrific." The Pacific Freedom Forum has also expressed its concern over the ban and has called on the Samoan film censors to fully and transparently explain themselves to the Samoan people. But repeated attempts by to discuss the ban with Samoan Government representatives, including the Justice Department which oversees the Censor, have been met with one dead-end referral and a wall of silence. Samoa, whose national motto translates as "Samoa is founded on God," has yet to explain what it finds objectionable or inappropriate about the movie, what effect viewing it might have on the Samoan people, what its censorship criteria are, whether there were any complaints about the movie or how its Censor and Censorship Board members are appointed.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 1st June 2009 - 11:23pm

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