Written By: Fares Anam
Article Date: Jul 31, 2007 - 8:45:05 AM
Many CD and DVD shops secretly sell saucy videos in order to make more money.s
Ali Aref, 20, of Sana’a watched a group of people crowding around someone in a souq in Sana’a. He hurried to see what was going on. In the midst of the crowd, he found two vendors selling a lot of cheap CDs, and shouting slogans to attract people.
There were a lot of music CDs and movies there, so Aref decided to buy some of the goodies. He asked the vendor for any good movies. The vendor then looked at him and whispered in his ear that if he wants some good pornographic films, he had them. The boy was happy to hear that.
He took five films and went home in hurry. He switched on his computer and began to play the first film. But he was disappointed, because there was nothing on the CDs except cartoons. He was upset. He took the CDs and went immediately to the vendor, but he found nobody was there.
This young man’s curiosity is one reason there is greater demand for pornography in Yemen than ever before. And the fact that the films he purchased were fakes demonstrates how shady the black market for pornography is. It also shows that perhaps fewer pornographic films are available on the streets now that the Ministry of Culture has seized hundreds of them.
“Some 560 banned video CDs that contained indecent material such as pornography were confiscated during a widespread campaign, which began during the previous months,” said Abdul-Malik al-Qata’a, general manager of categories and intellectual property at the Ministry of Culture.
“This comes within the framework of field inspection and an awareness campaign by the Ministry of Culture, to define intellectual property rights, and prevent the circulation of electronic works that contravene Islamic principles, beliefs, and moral values of society in Yemen,” Hisham Ali Ben Ali, Deputy of Culture Ministry, said.
“Culture offices in all governorates and in the capital monitor stores that sold these CDs. Also, we receive many communications from citizens about the shops that sold it,” al-Qata’a said.
“According to the directives from the Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor, field specialists go to those shops, and we have seized many of these bad films and referred them to the Press and Publications Court,” he said. The issue of shops selling pornography will now be dealt with in court.
Endangering Yemen’s virtue?
“We faced many problems, sometimes there is no cooperation with us from the owners who sell music CDs, so we take members from police to obligate those men to cooperate with us,” said Ben Ali.
He said that the ministry has not yet revealed the sources that distribute these obscene films. “We noticed that it is becoming a dangerous phenomenon that threatens the Yemeni community, and I think this matter is arranged by some people who want to spoil the Yemeni people,” he said.
"These pornographic films are sold in CDs shops, as well as Internet and computer shops," al-Qata’a said. “We have seized a shop making a copies of pornographic films through its computer to CDs, but we cannot control this shop, because the owner closed it and refused to cooperate with us and we referred this case to prosecutors to be dealt with.
"There are also some Internet shops that download these pornography films and pornographic images, and culture offices in all governorates do their work completely and control these stores and allocate the issue to the prosecution," he said.
The campaign also included targeting the hawkers who sell these movies that offend public morality, al-Qata’a said.
“We await a crackdown on the owners of these shops by the judiciary and the Press and Publications Court that determines the kind of penalties. They include imprisonment, fines, in addition to supplementary penalties from Ministry of Culture, the closing of these shops and revoking of its license of employment,” he said.
The swift proliferation of this phenomenon is a result of modern technological developments that have caused the ministry many problems, he said. “For example, any person can download these pornographic films on the Internet easily. So this phenomenon is causing a great danger to Yemeni society, and this is due to parents at home and the upbringing of their children,” said al-Qata’a.
"Public prosecution can determine where these pornographic films came from through its investigations," he said. “The pornographic films entered from the customs outlets with other CDs, such as music and movies, but these films will be destroyed with the presence of the competent authorities.”
“We got these pornographic films from someone who provides them for many CD shops,” said E. A., an owner of a CD shop in al-Hasabah who declined to give his whole name. “We took them because there are many people who come to us to find such films, so we are interested in money because they pay a lot to find such pornographic films.”
“The sellers sell those immoral films for YR 500 in the CD shops in some areas in Sana’a. We are coordinating with the prosecution to send those who sell the films to the Judiciary,” Ben Ali said. “The phenomenon has become very risky to Yemeni society during the past two months,” he said. “I call on the people who promote these immoral things to stop their activities that spoil our children and families.”
“We are planning with the Ministry of Youth to establish centers to raise the awareness of the people of the damages caused by this increasing phenomenon, and also we will establish clubs, public gardens, and recreational materials in order to reduce this bad phenomenon,” he said.
“There is a lack of upbringing based on the religion which generated bad behavior and morals among youth and elderly men," Dr. Abdulgabar Radman, sociology professor at Sana'a University.
Radman said that when the wrong values control everyone in the society, no one will think of the damage caused by watching pornographic films. "There is the effective role of the satellite channels on television, including their materials that are not the same as the nature of religious values in our society," he said.
"The insufficiently religious upbringing of children is one of the factors of why the youth resorts to watching these films. It generates a deviation among youth in the society," Radman said.
"The exaggerations of dowry, unemployment, and boredom are the other factors of why the youth resort to search for these immoral films."
"The main factor of why people resort to watching pornographic films is that many of youth think that it is a part of the sexual culture and it is normal if you watch to learn about sexual relations between men and women," Radman said. "These beliefs have big risks in the social infrastructure of any human community."
"The family must play main role in evaluating the behaviors of children and the implementing of values and social controls," he said, "Any one watching these bad films will bring that moral corruption to other."
"The police and media means have also main role next to the family to reduce this bad phenomenon in Yemen society through control and to determine the behaviors of the people to keep the society surviving," Radman said.
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