BEIRUT: Syrian authorities have asked private sector soap opera producers to drop references to “rebels” and the country’s own Independence flag from future productions because of their associations with the armed uprising, a pro-opposition website said Wednesday.
The report contained a memo dated lsate last year from Bassam al-Masri, the head of the Cinema and Television Production Committee, affiliated with the Damascus Chamber of Industry, advising producers to abide by five guidelines in upcoming works, which require state approval for both production and export.
The memo addresses production of historical series centered on Damascus during the French Mandate and Ottoman era, a popular genre.
It suggests that producers avoid portraying “rebels” and the “Mandate” flag, a reference to the flag that was adopted under the Mandate and continued in use during the Independence era, and is now a symbol of the armed uprising against President Bashar Assad.
“Do not use the term ‘Ghouta rebels’ or ‘rebels’ from any other area,” the memo says.
It also advises producers to avoid the portrayal of “sheikhs acting alone” as authoritative figures and says that the “civilized” role of women should be highlighted, a reaction to the often-criticized portrayal of women in such shows as docile and submissive.
Masri said the guidelines were communicated to the private sector by the Information Ministry earlier in December. The shooting of television series in time for Ramadan, which falls in the summer, is expected to kick off in the next few months.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 09, 2014, on page 8.