September 25, 2022

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Gulf Countries Ask Netflix To Pull Down Content Violating “Islamic Values”: Report

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Gulf countries have repeatedly locked horns with US film distributors over content related to sexual minorities, especially in films.

The Gulf countries have demanded that streaming giant Netflix remove content deemed offensive to “Islamic and societal values” in the region, according to a statement by Saudi Arabia’s media regulator on Tuesday. It said that recent material, including that made for children, broke regulations by showing certain scenes.

The Gulf Arab countries are particularly miffed with animated show Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous in which two female characters are shown kissing each other, the scene which was blurred by Saudi state TV, according to a BBC report. Another controversial clip from French film Cuties is also on the radar of the Saudi regulator, which featured in the report by Al-Ekhbariya TV. The channel deplored “movies and series for children with scenes promoting homosexuality under a dramatic cover via Netflix,” reported AFP.

A statement issued jointly by the Saudi media regulator and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, headquartered in the Saudi capital Riyadh, did not specifically identify the offending material but referred only to content that “contracts Islamic and societal values”.

“The platform was contacted to remove this content, including content directed to children,” the statement said.

The AFP report said that regional authorities “will follow up on the platform’s compliance with the directives, and in the event that the infringing content continues to be broadcast, the necessary legal measures will be taken”.

There was no immediate reaction from Netflix.

The BBC report said that in Saudi Arabia there are no laws regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, and sexual relations outside marriage, including homosexual sex, are strictly prohibited. As per Islamic law, consensual same-sex sexual is punishable by death or flogging.

Gulf countries have repeatedly locked horns with US film distributors over content related to sexual minorities, especially in films.

In June, UAE banned the Disney animated film “Lightyear” as it featured a lesbian kiss. The UAE is considered one of the more liberal countries in the Gulf region, though films with adult content are routinely cut or edited.

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