Jun 12, 2012

East Turkestan: Uyghur Movie Finally Broadcast

The documentary “The Ten Conditions of Love” depicting the life of Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer and the situation in East Turkestan was finally broadcast by an Australian network, though it was still blocked in East Asia.

Below is an article published by The Australian:

Producer John Lewis said that he was delighted the film, about the Turkish ethnic group in Central Asia, was broadcast after a two-year delay, but disappointed that "the critical Asian audience -- particularly China -- has been blocked".

He said that the broadcast was not seen in East Asia but went out on satellite feeds to India and the Pacific.

"In the ABC's anxiety to accommodate China, it means the rest of Asia misses out," Mr Lewis said.

China recently protested strongly to Japan about the hosting by Tokyo of a meeting of the World Uighur Congress at which Ms Kadeer was re-elected president.

Bruce Dover, chief executive of Australia Network, said the network did not broadcast directly into people's homes, but rather was rebroadcast through Asian channels that delivered it.

The host TV stations in Asian countries had strict rules imposed on them by their own governments, Mr Dover said.

It was not always obvious which programs would strike a sensitive nerve, often not with the rebroadcasters themselves, but with their governments.

A program that described a search for Noah's Ark, for example, hit hurdles in Muslim nations since Noah is a venerated prophet whose name may only be used with considerable caution.

A program by famous US documentary maker Ken Burns on the war in the Pacific struck problems in Vietnam because it does not allow the disparagement of friendly countries and hence sought the removal of content about Japan.

Another historical program briefly included a shot of the South Vietnamese flag, which again hit barriers there.

The widely praised series on Changi needed to be adapted for several countries by the pixelation of images of soldiers' backsides.

And almost every week, said Mr Dover, sequences of embraces -- especially any kissing on the soap Home and Away -- necessitate negotiation, especially for Malaysia.

He said it was predictable that governments in the region would make it hard for rebroadcasters to allow the screening of The 10 Conditions of Love, because of their desire to maintain cordial relations with China. The film's makers should be happy that it had gained a screening through Australia Network, he said.