Bulgarian Culture Minister Outraged by Smoking Ban in Art

Culture | March 11, 2011, Friday // 13:05|  views

Bulgaria's Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, says banning smoking in art is absurd. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, declared Friday he opposes the Health Ministry idea to ban smoking in Bulgarian movies.

The idea is part of the Ministry's National Program for Limiting Smoking in 2011-2015.

The strategy includes an agreement with the film and movie industry to restrict the showing of people smoking in Bulgarian movies, TV series and various broadcasts, along with a warning about the danger of smoking in their beginning.

Rashidov, who is known as a heavy cigar smoker, says such interference in art is absurd and aggressive and vows the move will pass only over his "dead body."

The Culture Ministry has sent a statement asking to make a difference between administrative orders for smoking restrictions and art.

"Art images can contribute to the building of some beliefs, but the true, real art cannot be restricted; it is needed as freedom of expression. This is a sacred artistic right; this is the strength of art. Putting breaks on movie scenes is borderline insane," the statement notes.

The letter points out as example world culture masterpieces depicting people drinking absinth, smoking cigarettes, created by artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, and Gauguin.

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Tags: smoking, smoking ban, cigarettes, Health Ministry, public spaces, indoor, tobacco products, advertisement, film, movies, Bulgaria's Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, art


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