Should Films Shown in the UAE Be Censored?
The issue of whether films that are shown in the UAE should be censored has been a point of concern for the past years. Not all movies can be featured to the public. Some films require cutting to fit the ethical concerns of the country.
Presentation of the Ethical Issue
It is apparent that not all films in the UAE are censored. What the media does is removing a part of the movie that does not correlate with the cultural values of the UAE. The studios know what they should present to the public. It is definite that it is not their duty to decide whether to screen the movie or not. The decision is cultural; thus, the National Media Council is liable for any content that does not match the culture of the country.
The media in the UAE are connected to the ethical values and principles of their profession. The media uses the journalism code of ethics to ensure that everything is conducted in the most appropriate manner (Journalism Ethics, n.d.). The National Media Council receives the original version of a movie and edits it, cutting the inappropriate scenes.
The Gulf of Film Distributors affirm that they also send the list of the cuts to the studio whereby the cut scenes are reviewed (Underwood, 2013). They ensure that all movies are within the cultural norms that are accepted by the society. During the cutting process, the values of integrity and respect are highly regarded. Individual opinion is also discouraged. The cut story should lie within significant boundaries that draw a clear line between the commercial publications or the independent films.
Statement of the Ethical Issue
Many movies that are shown in the UAE are based on cultural grounds. Those which are accepted by the various cultures are identified as ethical while those which need to be edited contain some unethical aspects. The society values the issues of cultural integrity and, therefore, requires the media to be vigilant while releasing films to the public. Since movie editing may be a bit expensive, some people choose to evade the Dh35 ticket price (Underwood, 2013). In this case, such films should be subjected to editing.
Additionally, it is unethical if the behaviors of particular individuals affect the actions of innocent persons. The rest of the filmmakers should have the opportunity to release their movies through honest means. People are guided by their own principles and not all of them want to pay higher ticket price for subjecting their films to the National Media Council. As a result of this, movies in the UAE should not be censored. In other words, the films should not be cut to fit the ethical concerns of the society.
Analysis of the Situation
It is apparent that films in the UAE should not be censored. On the one hand, if all the movies are suppressed, then, it will mean that even those filmmakers who use honest means to get their edited work will suffer. In this, it will be unethical to prevent people from working in their profession. The media in the UAE is based on the significant ethical principles which guide their practices. The ethical principles of adherence to the media law, honesty, and integrity are understood by those who seek to work as required by their profession. Therefore, it is disadvantageous to censor the UAE films because of the unethical nature of the situation.
On the other hand, the movies should be censored to prohibit dishonest acts which lead to the release of culturally unethical content as noted in the above section. In other words, not all films pass through the media channels of broadcasting. In this situation, some people use tricky means to have their contents aired to the public. As a result, the residents of the UAE are likely to receive culturally unethical content due to the disrespect for the rights of the community. The sections in the films which need to be cut, are, therefore, broadcasted without the attention of media personnel.
As noted above, some factors are likely to affect the moral judgment of this situation. For example, it is apparent that some people lack the ethical principle of honesty. Even though the journalism code of ethics requires the media personnel to abide by the set laws and rules, it is clear that not all individuals are honest. For instance, the code deters media people from influencing the edited publications (Journalism Ethics, n.d.). The issue of honesty is likely to impact on moral judgment, resulting in the censorship of the films. Another factor is based on adherence to the law. For instance, the Anti-terrorism laws in the UAE prohibit the media from releasing movies which are considered to be morally offensive. It is noted that terrorist groups often create films which are released to the public through the social media. The media, however, is not responsible for such acts, even though their effect on the general public is negative. For example, a video showing how a person was murdered is morally sensitizing. While airing such news, the media is not allowed to publicize the film for whichever cost.
Even though it is advantageous not to censor the movies that are shown in the UAE, the result is challenging to the media bodies. In other words, it is hard to identify the sources of offensive or unethical information since the law requires them to hide their personalities. When media bodies air particular information, they do so as journalists. However, they do not expose their side of the matter (Journalism Ethics, n.d.).
If the films are not censored, this means that media bodies will be responsible for the negative consequences of all information. For example, on the one hand, the media may not establish the positive side of a particular movie. The media may talk of the positivity of the film, while, on the other hand, the movie may be unethical depending on the cultural norms of the society. For example, not all media personnel may be conversant with the culture of the citizens of the UAE. As a result, the media staff may advertise of release a film which is not morally bad, but inconsistent with the norms of the particular society.
Application of Ethical Theories
One of the theories that relate to the aspect of movie censorship is the Authoritarian media theory which describes the proceedings in countries which control the media. According to this theory, much of what the media reports should be controlled and owned by the government. Besides, the segments of the media which are not controlled by the state authorities, such as films, should be determined by the ruling elite. According to the above case, the movies should be forwarded to the National Media Council for review (Underwood, 2013).
The aforementioned context reflects the activities and the role of the government in film censorship. The ruling elite such as the National Media Council is also responsible for the movies which are shown in the UAE (Underwood, 2016). Above all, the journalism code of ethics rules all the matters of media content and prohibits media personnel from conducting the unethical performance.
In my opinion, the films that are shown in the UAE should not be censored as the issue will affect the efforts of other media personnel who work tirelessly to provide the most appropriate content.
Defense of Position
The films in the UAE should not be censored because the issue is disadvantageous to those who rely on filmmaking as their source of income. Therefore, movie censorship brings various negative consequences which proof its inadequacy.
In conclusion, not all the films that are displayed in the UAE meet the required standards. However, they should not be censored to cater for the needs of the media personnel and filmmakers who rely heavily on their income. Besides, it is also unethical to conceal all movies due to individual acts which are dishonest.