poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, June 10, 2004

HRW Letter to Philippines President on Censorship and Anti-Discrimination Bill

Dear President Arroyo:

I am writing on behalf of Human Rights Watch to express our great concern over recent threats by the head of the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to ban broadcasts showing lesbian relationships. These actions encourage discrimination and are a blatant assault on freedom of expression. They point as well to broader issues in which your intervention, in your new term as President, will be crucial: to remove the MTRCB’s sweeping powers to edit and prohibit films and programs; and to enact proposed national legislation barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Human Rights Watch, founded in 1978, is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. Human Rights Watch conducts regular, systematic investigations of human rights abuses in some seventy countries around the world. We work in dialogue and cooperation with governments to develop legal and policy responses to the conditions that enable abuse. We hope that this letter will open a dialogue with you concerning these important subjects.

On May 23, as you are undoubtedly aware, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the head of the MTRCB, Marissa LaGuardia, had sent a memorandum to the producers of a television program, “The Buzz,” warning them about positive depictions of lesbian relationships. The memo stated that “lesbian and homosexual relationships are an abnormality of human nature. … To show such kind of abnormality/aberration on prime time TV programs gives the impression that the network is encouraging lesbian and homosexual relationships.” After another program, “S-Files,” aired the wedding of a lesbian couple on May 16, the MCRTB sent the producers a similar memorandum. It stated, “To allow lesbians or homosexuals to kiss each other on television during prime time is tantamount to saying to children who watch your program that to be lesbian or homosexual is all right.”


Youth Group Creates Ad In Response To Anti-Homosexual Shirt
Teen Says He Wore Shirt To Express His Religious Beliefs

SAN DIEGO -- A group of San Diego teens have developed a tolerance campaign in response to a T-shirt made by a Poway High School Student.

The members of IMPACT have made letter-sized posters that read "Hate is Shameful." The posters are meant to counter the T-shirt worn by Tyler Chase Harper that read "Homosexuality is Shameful."

The 16-year-old wore the shirt during a national "Day of Silence" event to support homosexual, bisexual and transgender high school and college students.

Harper says he wore the shirt as an expression of his religious belief that homosexual behavior is immoral and contrary to the teachings of the Bible.


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