Arts and Culture

Scandal: Top Channel in Albania Censors ‘Brokeback Mountain’

Monday, July 9, 2012
The same thing has been done by RAI who was forced to rebroadcast the movie several times uncensored. Top Channel, an Albanian television with high audience marks nationally and across borders is a protagonist of an unprecedented censorship in the Balkans with the movie ‘Brokeback Mountain’ with director Ang Lee.

A little after midnight of Thursday evening, Top Channel, a television which has revolutionized the Albanian media, started to broadcast this romantic drama which has won four Golden Globes in 2006, in the festival of Venezia, and three Oscars including the one for the best director of the year.
The scene were the two main protagonists of the film, two young cowboys who have to guard over a heard of sheep in a deep valley in the mountains, were they have their first love experience was cut brutally. The scene that we are referring to does not have any nude scenes, and is considered as one of the key moments of the entire movie. The movie, a masterpiece of actor Heath Ledger who died in 2008 was broadcasted by Top Channel with a red stamp indicating that minors should be kept away from the screen, is in fact an educative movie where the scenes of violence or nudes are extremely moderated.
This is the second time this romantic movie, a symbol of the human rights movement across the world, gets censure from a television station with a national license.
The first time happened in Italy, on December of 2008. RAI (public broadcaster) censured the same exact scene that was censured today by Top Channel. In that case RAI was forced to rebroadcast it uncensored a few months later in a second channel stating that the intimate cut scenes between the two main protagonists of the movie were not done by the RAI studios but it came in that form from the distributing company.
Activists of Pro LGBT, an organization that protects the rights of LGBT in Albania expressed their indignation about this case. “We hope that this censorship was not by decision of the board of broadcast of this television, because if this was the case then we are facing a situation where one of the most followed, or the most followed television station  is directed by homophobes, and this seriously damages the LGBT movement in Albania” -said director of Pro LGBT Kristi Pinderi.
Another declaration came from the director of the LGBT Aliance, Xheni Karaj saying –“It’s sad to become a witness to this kind of censorship from a media that should be one of the supporters of the diversity and of human rights.” According to her, “this kind of censorship in our days happens only in undemocratic countries where the media is controlled by political manipulation”.
Only a few weeks ago in Top Channel was broadcasted in the ‘Rrathe’ program the short documentary called ‘Te fshehur mes jush’ (Hidden Among You). This was the first short documentary telling the love stories between a lesbian and a male gay couple in Albania. Pinderi, author of this documentary said that “this media has supported, in general, the cause of human rights in Albania, but after this last case the right thing that they can do is to clarify their position and stand”. Activists of LGBT in Albania said that they will inform all the international networks of the LGBT movement in the world along with the River Road Entertainment, who has made this movie.
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