EgyptAir reviews in-flight movies after Islamist complaint

CAIRO Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:37am EST

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CAIRO Jan 24 (Reuters) - Egypt's national airline said on Thursday it will analyse its onboard movies to make sure they respect "Egyptian values and customs", following a complaint by a Muslim Brotherhood member who took offence at a film screened during one of its flights.

EgyptAir said the film had been turned off at the request of Ahmed Fahmy, the speaker of Egypt's upper house of parliament and a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. In a statement, EgyptAir said he had "expressed reservations about one of the scenes" in the movie.

The statement did not name the film, but local media identified it as "Arees Mama", or "Mother's Suitor", a decades-old movie starring the Egyptian actress Nelly. Al-Masry Al-Youm, a newspaper, said Fahmy had taken offence at scenes of intimacy.

Fahmy could not immediately be reached for comment.

The case is likely to fuel concerns about the extent to which the Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled President Mohamed Mursi to power in an election last year, could use its new position of power to curb freedom of expression.

Critics of a new, Islamist-tinged constitution approved by a popular referendum in December worry it gives wide scope for conservatives to limit forms of expression deemed harmful to public morals.

Responding to media reports of a confrontation between Fahmy and the EgyptAir crew aboard Wednesday's flight from Khartoum to Cairo, the EgyptAir statement said Fahmy had asked for the film to be switched off "politely and without a row".

"The film screening was halted in business class and there was no annoyance or objection from the passengers," it said.

In a separate statement, EgyptAir said it would form a committee to review all films shown on its flights.

Roshdy Zakaria, chief executive of the state-run company, said the committee would pull films it deemed "depart from Egyptian values and customs". (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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