Arab Censorship (86 pics)

Posted in RANDOM       18 Apr 2011       32095       29

There are some unusual prohibitions in advertising in the Muslim world. We had a post about some of them: Oldie of the Day: Censorship in Saudi Arabia (10 pics). They are based on the national and religious peculiarities of Islamic countries.

Any advertising including logos that appear in Arabic-speaking countries should be forcibly adapted to the local cultural values and the Arabic language.


In order to achieve these goals, you need to understand what various animals and symbols mean and how different objects can be interpreted according to the Islamic traditions and customs.

For example, dogs are believed to be “filthy animals” that is why you can rarely see puppies in the local ads. There are other traits as well. Fish symbolizes Christianity. A crow is a symbol of death and a chameleon means hypocrisy.


The Crusades left a deep wound in the Arab psychology. Thus any form of a cross is considered to be a violation here. The Red Cross organization in the Muslim world is called Red Crescent.

It is prohibited to demonstrate open eyes in the advertisements in the most conservative Asian countries. Local advertising agencies have to use their imagination when they show people in ads. The most popular ways of showing eyes are pixelation, glasses and “rolled eyes”.



Magazines go through hand-censorship. Even their covers are “finalized”. Photoshop and other things including black markers, paper and glue are widely used.

Any form of nudity is prohibited. Islamic culture is very conservative. Only the skin on the face, hands and feet can be showed.

Movies and Video Games


A particular attention is paid to movie adverstising. Such ads must get a “retouch” in order to comply with the strict cultural expectations. Legs, chest and even shoulders of women and men have to be covered. Even cartoon characters must be dressed.



All world-famous brands that are sold in the Asian market have to be adapted to the Arabic script.

Arab designers managed to preserve the famous arrow hidden in the “FedEx” logo.

Some brands don’t even try to use fonts similar to the original ones when they translate their names into the Arabic language. They sacrifice it for the sake of their brand’s spirit using the simplest classic Arabic fonts.

IT 11 year s ago
what is the problem of having Arabic script for English brand ?
theguy 11 year s ago
thats just stupid....idiotic politic
1361 11 year s ago
interesting post :)
jub 11 year s ago
Yah, I bet they take magazines, take pictures of the pages, edit them with paint, then publish them. Yup. Smart. Moving on, having different food brands in their own language is censorship. Right. SIGH
Tarzan 11 year s ago
very intersting..
Archlord 11 year s ago
The first part is shocking ok they cover the woman cause their are frustrated okay, but the second ... nothing wrong with that
Mort 11 year s ago
It's alright. We'll be talking about them in the past tense in about 30 years.
basem 11 year s ago
the dog , cross , crusades psyology !!
that's completely wrong , were the hell r u reading about muslim countries!!
The only thing that's is true , not showing naked womens with bikinis!
mangosteeen 11 year s ago
LOL... this like saying 'all' american are gun slinging rednecks!

Which is not true at all.

<--- Jesus said spread love, not hate.
Bacon Eater 11 year s ago
where was the Piggly Wiggly store i didnt see one. LOL
qwed 11 year s ago
Cant show open eyes ? WFT is up with that.
bahah 11 year s ago
so what is the issue here again?? arabic script? is that a big deal now?great anything else interesting perhaps flying goat or something
kero 11 year s ago
so what bothering you in that ??
jermaia 11 year s ago
1- working in advs business i know that i have to change my product look in depending on the targeted market.

and thats happening everywhere in the world

2- not an arab but i totally agree with them covering naked women
its make me sad how we use sex to sell

3- "They sacrifice it for the sake of their brand’s spirit using the simplest classic Arabic fonts"

really !!

thats just pathetic, dear poster have you ever been out of ur mother basement.

what make me even sadder is that readers take shit like this for granted =(
Ha 11 year s ago
this is not applicable but in certain Islamic countries. Other countries in the middle east such as Lebanon for instance have no such cencorship on ads. you can find a Lingerie add with a thong hanging lose of a chick's ass while driving on the highway.

as for changing the brand name from english to arabic, i dont see the issue there. if it was set in chinese many people would have had their mouthes closed. btw, in marketing when targeting a country you should respect the culture of that country. for instance, MacArabia from MacDonalds is only served in the middle east, whereas wine is served only in France with a Big MAc!
sym 11 year s ago
nothing. Just interesting to see how it happens in other countires.
18 11 year s ago
Cant show open eyes .. !!.. there is nothing like this in the Arabic countries Ads . even it not make any sense for the Islamic religious ...Archlord,
gfx 11 year s ago
No one In any Arab or Muslim Country Believes That Dogs are Filthy animals !!!!!
j b 11 year s ago
And then again: Someone in a culture without any body / nudity taboos could very easily make a similarly ridiculling photo report about Western (and USA in particular) ads and other media content cencorship. Like when CK was reported for displaying "child pornography" in their ads for boys' underwear: It was claimed that it was possible to see that one of the folds in the underpants of that four year old boy was caused by his penis. So, although only the fold was visible, it was child pornography...

Pixelation is nowadays used so excessively that it makes me laugh. Sometimes, the only reason why I know there was something "indecent" in a newspaper picture is that my attention is drawn to it by extreme pixels. Or, you see newsstories about some woman accidentally displaying more skin than morally acceptable, with a "non-illustration" where the entire subject of the story has been hidden by four or six gigantic pixels covering the entire bosom of the woman...

Or, the classical censor strips on photographs of tribal people. National Geographic was world famous for NOT using them, everone else did. Nowadays, even NG practically without exception restricts themselves to pictures where certain parts of the body are "accidentally" hidden by another object. That is not too different from "Even cartoon characters must be dressed".

We find it extremely silly that some moslem countries demand that arms be clothed, yet we are shocked by people who suggest that breasts need NOT be clothed. The principle is the same in both cases: Some skin should not be exposed. Details of where to draw the line betweeen forbidden and permitted skin are nothing but details.

Those lines may change quite a lot over the years. When I was a boy, nobody would ever consider a photo of a naked child "pornography" as long as the child had no explicit signs of sexual maturity, i.e. well into the school years, while porno magazines displayed women in underwear as "daring" pictures. Nowadays, ordinary newspapers regularly show pictures of adults having intercourse, but in their midsummer reports from the beach, you won't even see a naked two year old without his/her private parts being discretely hidden behind some object, or pixelated. -- That is in Europe, but USA has seen the same trend: NG can't even show young tribal children without concern for what could be termed child pornography, while adult pornography is more or less freely available on the Internet.

This ridiculing photo series is rather hypocritical. We WANT censorship - it is only that we have slightly different ideas about what should be censored.
Photo Shopper 11 year s ago
Wrong i want NO CENSORSHIP! I don't need to be "told" what is offensive.
blablawaka 11 year s ago
euhh sorry but O_o...we have to respect other culture.
and sorry but the woman are so many times using for sale like object (where is the feminist ??)

and for the arabic marks....O_o in Japan you see its with japaneese language, because arabs have a different ortohgraphe.

its islamophoebia!!

for the First remark.....the red cross....there is no relation between this and the crusade O_o....its just the Red creasent...the equivalent of Redcross...and where is the problem is the her Symbole O_o.....You have a great problém
To Losers above 11 year s ago
LOL at the stupid people commenting and hating again
this article just shows examples of censorship in arabic countries, what's wrong with that. Relax, Izi didn't comment on censorship or islamic stuff... what's with the trolling each time it deals with arab or Islamic stuff? You can't stand reality?
YUNOUnderstand 11 year s ago
Well, I'm an arab, and this post just made me realize i must get rid of my dog, fear a cross like a vampire and stop buying magazines where people in ads have open eyes. Thank you so much, you saved my soul.
black_tiger 11 year s ago
I think we need censorship for racist posts from izi staff.
admin r u jewish? cuz some of your post praising israel & some loathing arabs/muslims!
or you do that to boost the visitors/comments rating?
yfyf 11 year s ago
arab blow
GOODSTUFF4U 11 year s ago
very interesting blog

I not going to explore the "tolerance" yet again

thanks for the effort units
Deric 11 year s ago
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Grace 11 year s ago
God bless the flamiy of Jere Melo. You have a lot to be blessed for. Jere worked very hard for his community, flamiy and the human race. He will be missed. What a legacy. We should all walk in his footsteps. Jere, it was an honor knowing and working with you.

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