An opinion poll conducted by the Doha Debates television programme reveals that six out of 10 Arab citizens support government censorship of the arts, especially when it comes to nudity or profane language.Al Ahram itself came under fire recently for censoring a famous piece by Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar by covering up the breasts of a woman in the painting:
According to the poll, conducted between 30 May and 3 June, most said that the existence of regulatory bodies and institutions affiliated with the state is a must, as art could be "inappropriate" and offend "religious beliefs."
Most of those polled suggested that censorship was needed on modern art taught in Arab universities, but most also said that censorship would not be able to stand in the way of artists because thoughts and beliefs live in our imaginations.
In the poll, most of those who supported government censorship of art came from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Yemen. Poll samples from less conservative countries in the region returned different results.
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