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Netflix Faces Heat From Saudi Arabia and GCC Over Content Violating ‘Islamic Laws’

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Streaming giant Netflix is facing a warning from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries for showing content that is anti-Islamic.

According to a Saudi media report, the demand cited offence pertaining to “Islamic and societal values and principle”. The Committee of the Electronic Media Officials which is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) made the statement. The GCC is a trade and political association that includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Related statements were released by Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Netflix dubbed as ‘homosexual promoter’

They cited some recent material, also the content made for children, as against the regulations. A Saudi state TV, Al Ekhbariya TV showed a blurred clip from animated show Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous wherein two young girls kiss each other. Another footage from the controversial French Film Cuties, acquired by Netflix, was also mentioned in the report. The content was tweeted with a threatening caption for Netflix “being a cinematic cover for immoral messages that threaten the healthy upbringing of children.”

In an interview with a behavioral consultant, the Saudi state TV also quoted her as calling Netflix as “a promotor of homosexuality”. It was alleged on the TV that Netflix specifically focuses on homosexuality. Apart from this, the TV interviewed various experts and public figures who called out Netflix for promoting such content and urged the authorities to take action.

Netflix gets a serious warning

However, this is not the first time the gulf country has cited offence. It has locked horns with the Hollywood entertainment section several times, many a times this has been due to depiction of LGBTQ characters. In June, it banned Pixar animation’s Lightyear along with several other gulf countries. This prohibition also came due to scenes showing same sex kiss. In another instance, Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” was prohibited as it featured a gay character.

To collectively show resentment against Netflix content, a joint statement from the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media and the GCC Committee of Electronic Media Officials stated, “[Netflix] was contacted to remove this content, including content directed at children, and to ensure adherence to the laws”. They went a step ahead to even warn of action by authorities on non-compliance with the directives. They said that if the violated content maintains its screening, legal remedies will be sought for.

The Sunni dominated country maintains no such legal rules vis-à-vis sexual or gender identity, however it has well-stated guidelines for sexual relations barring marital relationship. As per the laws, same-sex sexual activities are highly punishable, even to the extent of death.

Regarding the allegations made on the streaming platform, no statement defending its content came from Netflix.

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