SEOUL - South Korea's film community reacted angrily on Monday to a major cinema chain's decision to stop screening a documentary that questions whether North Korea was really behind the 2010 sinking of the warship Cheonan.
Megabox withdrew the movie "Project Cheonan" from 27 of its theatres on Saturday, citing customer safety concerns after unidentified conservative activists threatened to stage protest rallies outside the multiplexes.
The Megabox move "does serious violence to our cultural vitality which prospers on the basis of diversity and the freedom of expression," the representatives of 11 film industry groups, including directors, producers, critics and others said in a joint statement.
At a news conference in Seoul, they called on the cinema chain to rescind its decision, apologise and identify the conservative groups behind the protest threats.
The naval corvette Cheonan sank with the loss of 46 lives on the night of March 26, 2010 near the South's disputed Yellow Sea border with the North.
An investigation by a South Korean-led international commission concluded it had been sunk by a torpedo from a North Korean submarine - a charge Pyongyang has always angrily denied.