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It seems to be there is no end for the witch hunt on Al Jazeera . Although the Doha based television network is owned by Qatari royal family, its unique content, style and coverage of news with stunning visuals makes it different from rest of the media around the world. Many people view Al Jazeera as an alternative medium which represents the voices of the people who are deliberately silenced, but the political situation in Middle East appears to be alarming for Al Jazeera.
It has been more than a month since Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Jordan banned Al Jazeera accusing the news network to be promoting terrorism. Complete closure of the television news network was one among the thirteen demands put forward by Saudi Arabia and its allies upon Qatar. Al Jazeera was accused last month of inciting violence in Jerusalem by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Sunday, Israeli Minister for communication Ayoub Kara announced in a press conference in Jerusalem that Israel is planning to revoke the media credentials of Al Jazeera TV journalists, shut down its Jerusalem bureau and to not allow Al Jazeera broadcast via local cable and satellite providers.
Al Jazeera claims that it share common journalistic ethos in its both Arabic and English channels, but there are critics who view Al Jazeera Arabic as more radical in its coverage. In Middle East, the television news network broke the conventional notion of reporting official narratives of a story and independently reported the alternative perspectives of the issues. Saudi Arabia launched the news channel ‘Al Arabia’ calling it a ‘modern alternative to Al Jazeera’ in 2003, but it couldn’t grow up to the expectations. The ruthless assault against Al Jazeera came to the fore from post ‘Arab spring’ protests, the support given by the news network for those protests provoked many nations in the Middle East. In Egypt, three of the Al Jazeera journalists were jailed alleging them for helping “terrorist organizations”.
Al Jazeera has always been bold in dealing with attacks over its freedom of expression by the authoritarian states. Every undemocratic and brutal attack upon the news network till date has only made it stronger. But the present scenario is more vast and complex, it is an organized campaign which is going on to malign, threaten and intimidate the news network. Al Jazeera is one of the most watched satellite television news networks in the world, yet the voices of solidarity for Al Jazeera seems to be less in number. The crisis that we face today is not about agreeing or disagreeing with Al Jazeera, but about our duty to stand for their right to freedom of press.
The 8th Edition of International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFOK) which showcased plays from different parts of the world , starting from legendary choreographer Chandralekha’s last creation ‘ Sarira’ and ended with award winning solo play ‘Dhoda Dhyan Se’ by Mallika Taneja , ITFOK 2016 depicted human body as an entity other than viewing it as a tool to limn our society. ITFOK 8 tried to seek new dimensions of ‘Body’ ‘Political’ and ‘Body Political’ aspects in theatre.The time has come for more exploration into the world of theatre. The brand new edition of ITFOK will certainly make you fall in love with theatre.
ITFOK 2017 , the edition 9 is packed with a total of 66 performances including 16 international , 7 regional along with 4 traditional performances. The 9 day long festival is all set to break the dramatic conventions in theatre. ITFOK 9 will have a special focus on street theatre, the performances this year happens in most unlikely venues ranging from swimming pool to children’s park , Thrissur. Street theatre as always alter our modes of perception , it may constantly confronts,amazes and can even annoy the audience. It approaches directly to the people breaking all the formal barriers between artists and audience. “The mark of this edition of ITFOK is the variousness in the languages of theatre impacting upon the variousness of spaces. One of the focuses of this year’s festival is the intervention of street performances in public spaces and how this range of street art practices mediate and engage with the daily” tells artistic director Abhilash Pillai.
Highlights from DAY 01
ITFOK 2017 had its official inauguration at Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy. Minister of Culture A.K Balan inaugurated the 9th edition of ITFOK. ‘Ammannur Puraskaram’ which honour distinguished theatre personalities, an award instituted by KSNA in 2010 has been brought back. Hesinam Sabitri , most notable personality in manipuri theatre and one of the greatest actors of Indian theatre today along with late Heisnam Kanhilal founder director of Kalakshetra Manipur were the winners of ‘Ammannur Puraskaram’ this year.The award carries three lakh rupees and a statue designed by B.D Dathan.
‘The Lost Wheels of Time’ (60′ , Clown Show) by ‘Serious Clowns’ Germany was the inaugural play of the ITFOK 9. A German-Israel production performed in an outdoor theatre was like a philosophical reflection of contradictions in this world , portrayed with the help of two cartoon like charecters , the play was created and performed by Adam Read and Fyodor Makarov. ‘UDAL URAVU UTIREZHUTU UDALEDUPPU’ (30′ ,special performance) A special performance held at the regional theatre courtyard with impregnated audience , a play produced by Satako Tsurudome , performed by Sankar Venkateswaran and team. The performance was an exploration of the body as it responds to the various powers that oppress and repress it and how the space is negotiated.
Day two of ITFOK 9 will begin with ‘Quijote’ (60′ , Spain) at the Thoppil Bhasi Black Box theatre at 11:00 Am. Streets of Thrissur are seeing something like never before and the involvement of audience gives ITFOK a distinct place among theatre festivals all over the world.