Aksharaya (Sri Lankan film)

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Date: 2006

Region: Asia

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Film Video


Handagama.jpg

Artist: Asoka Handagama, Sri Lankan filmmaker

Confronting Bodies: Sri Lankan Cultural Minister, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena

Date of Action: April, 2006

Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Description of Artwork: Handagama's film Aksharaya examines various relationships in society including those between a mother and son, a married couple, gender and society, morality and sexuality, and those holding power and those without power.

The Incident: The Cultural Minister decided to ban Handagama's film from being shown after the film received approval from the Censor Board. The Cultural Minister said he would only approve the film if the sexually explicit scenes are removed. Many feared that freedom of expression would be threatened if the ban of the film is successful. The film was, indeed, banned. Interestingly, in order for portions of the film to be uploaded onto You Tube the nude scenes had to be removed.

Results of Incident: Petition brought by Handagama to Sri Lankan Supreme Court was denied.

Source: International Freedom of Expresion Exchange, Free Media Foundation for South Asian Free Media Association (www.freemediasrilanka.org); http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpN2cSoWgzI