In last Friday’s sermon, imams warned against Ramadan dramas that “scratch the modesty” of the Algerian family, calling for a boycott of them, considering that they invalidate the fast.
Algeria- The Algerian-Tunisian series “Love of Kings” has sparked widespread controversy since the first day it was shown at the beginning of the current month of Ramadan through one of the local Algerian channels, after a wide segment of social networking sites in Algeria considered it a “dishonor of modesty”.
After showing 10 episodes, the audiovisual control authority in Algeria issued an order to suspend its broadcast on the Algerian local channel, which later announced the suspension of its show for a week, accompanied by its announcement of an apology to the Algerian viewer.
A segment of social media users raised slogans calling for stopping the series “Love of Kings”, the Algerian-Tunisian version of the Turkish series “Eshk El Fakher”, considering that it does not represent the societal values of the Algerians.
In recent years, a number of Algerian dramas have been linked to joint Tunisian productions. The Ramadan drama race witnessed a number of joint productions between the two countries that were widely popular, such as the series “Mashair”.
This year, “Love of Kings” aroused widespread rejection, until the matter reached the pulpits of a number of mosques in Algeria, as imams warned in their last Friday sermon against Ramadan dramas that “injure the modesty” of the Algerian family, calling for their boycott and considering that they invalidate the fast.
The scene of a secretary trying to win over her boss at work was the first thing that angered the Algerian street, which he considered transgression.
Abdel Rahman, a media student, says, “The Algerian viewer may accept clips like this from foreign works, but reject them when they are in local works.”
For his part, the Algerian director Yahya Muzahem believes in a statement to Al Jazeera Net that “the local drama must mimic the logic of the local audience, we are working for this audience, and it is he who pays us our dues.”
Muzahem added, “The viewer has the right to see himself in dramas, and we, as television makers, must respect his norms, ambitions and orientations.”
“In the peak hours of Ramadan, it is common knowledge that families watch television together, and the nature of the Algerian family is conservative, so this must be taken into account,” the director said.
Freedom and Responsibility
Muzahem continued, “In the cinema, we can exercise freedom because the viewer is the one who moves to follow us. As for television, filmmakers must take into account that they enter people’s homes, especially with regard to local works broadcast through local channels and in the month of Ramadan in particular.”
Regarding the importance of freedom in the practice of art, Muzahem said, “Breaking taboos must be in accordance with a pattern so as not to shock the viewer.”
Regarding the decisions to ban the broadcast of dramas, as “does not take into account societal values,” director Yahya Muzahim said, “We should not give the topic more than its size. I am with the discussion and against the ban because it is not a solution in the end.”
For its part, Al Jazeera Net tried to communicate with one of the officials of the local Algerian channel that broadcasts the work, but he refused the statement, stressing that the channel has reservations about the comment and does not have a statement on the matter.
For their part, the “opponents” of the series “Love of Kings” celebrated the decision of the control authority, which temporarily suspended the broadcast of the work, considering it a victory for the conservative Algerian society, while others resented what they considered a stone to artistic freedom.