“The Joker” … the first Syrian series to be banned for non-political reasons

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This decision came too late, as it was taken on the morning of the first day of Ramadan, after the production company “Qaband” sold the series, and it was announced on five television channels, which are: “Us” and “Syria Drama” the two Syrians and “ The Lebanese “NBN” and “Shahid” Kuwaiti, in addition to the Iraqi channel, “Sharqiya”. Note that the company had obtained all the approvals related to the filming of the series in advance.

“The Joker” belongs to the style of police drama, which is adapted from an American work, and takes place within the scope of a university, whose students live in a state of terror because of the large number of crimes committed in it. The police recruit a group of students to reveal the identity of the criminal secretly, and the role of the student participating in the ambush of the criminal is limited to claiming his knowledge of the identity of the criminal, and that he has forensic evidence that he will show to the competent security authorities, to attract this common criminal towards him and be arrested, but the criminal ( Who works as a teacher at the university) succeeds in liquidating a number of students participating in ambushes before his arrest. The series has been called “The Joker” because students cooperating with the police play a game to determine the student who will play the role of a free witness, by distributing playing cards between them, and whoever holds the Joker card among his cards must bear the consequences.

This police story was filmed within one of the private universities in Syria, but the university faculty objected to the presentation of the series because it offends it, due to the emergence of the university’s logo in the work, and this is what made the president of the university’s board of directors, Faisal Abbas, object to the presentation of the series, which His educational institution presents Coker for corruption and delinquency. After reviewing the work of the “Film Industry” committee, a decision was issued to prevent the series from showing, and Syrian MP and producer Mohamed Qabandan met him with declared dissatisfaction. As for the Syrian Ministry of Information, it indicated that there is no prejudice against the producing company, and there are no political or personal reasons related to the character of Qaband that prompted her to take the decision to ban the show, with evidence that it did not prevent the series “Prokar” produced by the same company.

But Qabnad seemed unacceptable to the decision of the Ministry of Information and its justifications, because that would incur significant financial losses, due to the existence of penal conditions for the cancellation of his contracts with the occasional channels that will not be compensated, in addition to production costs. So he indicated that the series would be revised to make it fit for presentation. As for “Facebook”, it was sufficient to announce the postponement of the show’s post-Ramadan date, through a post on the promotional page of the “Joker” series.

It is worth noting that the issue of preventing Syrian series after its production and obtaining initial approvals has been repeated in recent years, and the strangest of these incidents was what happened in the series “Tarjuman Al-Ashwaq”, which was produced by the same ministry that returned to prevent its presentation. But the matter is different this time. The series “The Joker” was not banned for political reasons, as it offends the image and symbols of the state, not the first series to be banned for reasons not associated with politics.

Although the prohibition of any series or artwork is an indication of the decline in freedom of expression; but it must be noted that the series “The Joker” appeared in its first episode, which crept through the “Iraqi Eastern” channel, as a model of artistic poorness, and that it is already promoting violence, which makes the prevention of its display It seems a justified decision, to say the least.

Here it should be noted that the series “The Joker” was accompanied by a large media aura since the beginning of the filming operations, due to the problems and disputes that surfaced. From the accusations that the Qabnd company has stolen the text of the work by writer Joan Pahlavi, to the problem of replacing the director, as the production company was not convinced with what was presented by director Nizar Al-Saadi, to return production under the supervision of director Jamal Al-Daher.



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