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Thursday Aug. 11, 2011 10:06 AM (EST+7)
West Bank comedy show slapped with lawsuits

Read more: culture, television, comedy, freedom of expression, police, Arab revolts, doctors, union, freedom of speech

RAMALLAH, August 11 (JMCC) - Last Ramadan, the Palestinian comedy show, Watan ala Watar, or Country on a String, got rave reviews.

This year, however, as the Arab region experiences an awakening of political freedoms, the show has been slapped with lawsuits by the Palestinian police and the doctor's union, reports the LA Times.

Already, two groups have filed lawsuits against Watan ala Watar and Palestine TV, claiming the show has harmed their reputation. The police and the doctors groups filed the suits in Palestinian courts, demanding compensation and a stop to the show. In the show, police were portrayed as getting drunk from smelling the breath of a drunk person, and doctors were portrayed as not caring about the life of their patient.

Officials are more tense this year than before, Faragin said. I imagine the reason is because of the Arab Spring. They are afraid that too much criticism may lead them to the same fate as other Arab officials.

Faragin said he is worried that the negative reaction from officials may force cancellation of the show.

I did not receive any personal threats, but there definitely was huge pressure directed mainly at me, he said. This is proof to me that the show had an impact, and this is why officials seem concerned by its message.

He said the show reflects the feelings of the people and expresses their views on various social and political ills. He said he is not going to quit producing the show, no matter what happens. He added that he believes in freedom of expression and that if he has to go to court, he'll go alone and take with him only a camera to record the hearing.

He also said that the controversy will definitely give him material for future shows.







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