Joyland Director Saim Sadiq Speaks Out Against 'Illegal' Ban On His Film

Joyland Director Saim Sadiq Speaks Out Against 'Illegal' Ban On His Film
Film director Saim Sadiq has spoken out against the 'illegal and unconstitutional' banning of his directorial debut feature film Joyland, which despite winning many international awards, was banned in Pakistan over the weekend for 'moral standard noncompliance'.

The film was banned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting a week before it was due for release in Pakistan, over accusations that it does not meed 'moral standards'. Interestingly, the censor board had cleared the film for a nationwide release in August of this year, before reneging on its decision on Sunday.

Speaking out on Instagram, director Saim Sadiq said that the entire team was 'absolutely gutted' over this development. "I am compelled to point out that this sudden U-turn by the Pakistan Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is absolutely unconstitutional and illegal," he wrote, adding that the film got seen and certified by all three censor boards in August 2022.


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"The 18th amendment in the Pakistani constitution gives all provinces the autonomy to make their own decision. Yet the Ministry suddenly caved under pressure from a few extremist factions - who have not seen the film - and made a mockery of our federal censor board by rendering their decision irrelevant," he wrote.

He further continued that the Information Ministry has unconstitutionally ordered provincial censor boards to follow its decision, which he said the ministry had no right to do. "Legally speaking, Joyland is still certified to release in Punjab and Sindh on 18th November," said Saim.

Saim said that the response that Joyland has received from every corner of the world is 'humbling and energising', and noted that many people have put years of hard work and money behind this film. He ended with an emotional appeal to the Information Ministry to review it's decision so that Pakistan's citizens can 'watch the film that made their country's cinema proud world over'.

Previously, Joyland won the Grand Jury prize at Cannes Film Festival, a prestigious film festival. It is Pakistan’s official submission to the Oscars and has won at London Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Cairo International Film Festival among others.