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Should Salman Rushdie Live and Let Die ?

You oppose art being banned. But would a movie that calls for you to be killed change your view of censorship? Iain Robert Smith opens the BBFC archives on the Rushdie affair.

You are a liberal who opposes art being banned. But would a movie that calls for you to be killed change your view of censorship? This was the quandary facing Salman Rushdie when filmmakers in Pakistan produced a James Bond-style action thriller in which a trio of Islamist guerrillas are inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa to track down and kill the author of The Satanic Verses. In the year of the 30th anniversary of the fatwa against the novelist from Iranian clerics, film historian Dr Iain Robert Smith explores what this largely-forgotten episode from the Rushdie affair can tell us about current debates on freedom of expression.

Iain Robert Smith researches the impact of globalisation on popular films made around the world. He teaches at King’s College, London.

The Essay was recorded at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.

Producer: Fiona McLean

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22 minutes

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