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Faith Nyasuguta 

Algeria has banned the movie ‘Barbie’, which has been showing at some cinemas in the nation for several weeks, the local 24H Algerie news site has reported.

In the report, the news site quoted an official source who said the film “promotes homosexuality and other Western deviances” and that it “does not comply with Algeria’s religious and cultural beliefs.”

Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, the movie sends Mattel Inc’s (MAT.O) doll on an adventure into the real world. The film has topped $1 billion in box office ticket sales worldwide since its July 21 debut.

In banning the film, the North African country joins fellow Muslim-majority nations Lebanon and Kuwait in prohibiting the movie.

Similar rationales have been advanced by the other two Muslim nations to ban the movie. According to the Kuwaiti state-run KUNA news agency, the film advances “ideas and beliefs that are alien to the Kuwaiti society and public order.”

The same explanations were made in Lebanon. Lebanese culture minister Mohammad Mortada released a statement denouncing the movie. 

The statement read, “The movie Barbie contradicts moral and faith values and established principles in Lebanon, as it promotes homosexuality and transgenderism and promotes an ugly idea of rejecting the father’s guardianship, belittling and ridiculing the mother’s role, questioning the necessity of marriage and building a family, and portraying them as an obstacle to the individual’s self-development, especially for women.”

Additionally, the censorship authorities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE implemented edits before releasing the movie for public viewing in their respective countries.

The movie has also been banned in Vietnam due to a scene that features a map showing China’s unilaterally claimed territory in the South China Sea.


Muslim nations have banned Hollywood films in recent years over identical concerns to those expressed by Algeria, Lebanon, and Kuwait. In 2022, the UAE banned the Disney-Pixar film Lightyear over the movie’s depiction of a same-sex couple.

Decisions regarding whether or not a film will be banned frequently fall to each nation’s cultural ministry.

For instance, Reuters reported that the film content being shown in Algerian theaters is supervised by its Cultural Ministry. The ministry has the authority to prevent films it deems inappropriate from being shown.

Algeria’s Culture Ministry supervises the contents of films projected in cinemas and can stop them from being shown.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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