An official from Burma’s Motion Picture and Video Censor Board, a body under the Ministry of Information, defended the government’s decision to reintroduce censorship for direct-to-video films, claiming the old rules are necessary because many recent movies have portrayed behaviour that runs counter to Burmese culture.
The movie censorship board announced earlier this year that, beginning on 1 December, such films will be subject to the old censorship system, whereby they are required to be evaluated and approved by the censor board prior to distribution.
Tin Nyein, a board member, said the decision was not designed to keep the film industry under government control; rather, it was a response to the large number of sexually-explicit films released in recent years that are offensive to certain religious beliefs.
Director Thaw Ko Ko Kyaw said the censorship board official’s explanation for censoring direct-to-video movies was acceptable, but that it would be more convenient for producers to submit their scripts to the board prior to production. Under the reintroduced rules, producers are essentially forced to complete the entire film first and run the risk that parts of the film will be censored after finishing the production. As a result, if part of a movie is censored filmmakers might have no choice but to spend more time to produce a final version that doesn’t appear disjointed.
Before government censorship was abolished three years ago, it was widely criticised as the primary reason why Burma’s film industry declined. However, actor Nay Dwe Zaw said there has not been any improvement in Burmese films since censorship was abolished—only an increase in sexual content.