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Government Appeals Court Ban On Falcon Crest

January 14, 1989

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ A court overstepped its jurisdiction in finding the American television series Falcon Crest too degenerate for Egyptian viewers, said a government lawyer who was appealing the case today.

″If ... the plaintiff didn’t like the series, all he needed to do was to switch off his television set,″ said Ragaee Ahmed Issa, the technical department chief of the State Litigation Authority.

Usually shown weekly, the series about a California wine-making estate is highly popular in this Moslem country. The series stars Jane Wyman and Lorenzo Lamas.

A court in the Nile Delta town of Shibin el-Kom banned the series last month after lawyer Mustafa Hamed Khalifa argued that scenes in Falcon Crest are ″against morality and the constitution and incite debauchery.″

The court ordered the Information Ministry, which controls the Television and Radio Authority, to stop screening the series.

Television ignored the ruling. On Sunday, it rebroadcast the last two episodes of the series’ seventh season, and a day later showed the first episode of the new season.

Issa said the Litigation Authority, which represents the government in civil court cases, appealed to a higher court at Shibin el-Kom.

″We expect to win,″ Issa said. ″We expect the (appeal) court to rule that the ban order was outside the jurisdiction of the court.″

Disputes with the government must be litigated only in the Cairo-based Administrative Court, Issa said.

Issa also objected to the ruling because the judge accepted the plaintiff’s allegations without making an independent court assessment.

Falcon Crest began appearing several years ago and quickly gained popularity. Television censors routinely cut kissing scenes they consider too passionate.

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