Netflix: Saudi Arabia and GCC warn streaming giant over violating ‘Islamic values’

By David Gritten
BBC News

Gulf states have demanded that Netflix remove all content deemed to violate “Islamic and societal values and principles”, Saudi media report.

Recent material, including that made for children, contravened regulations, Saudi and Gulf Co-operation Council media watchdogs warned in a statement.

It did not provide any further details.

But Saudi state TV showed blurred clips from animated show Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, in which two teenage girls confess they love each other and kiss.

Footage from the controversial French film Cuties also featured in the report by Al Ekhbariya TV, along with a caption accusing Netflix of being “cinematic cover for immoral messages that threaten the healthy upbringing of children”.

Another video on Al Ekhbariya’s website alleged that the streaming service was “promoting homosexuality by focusing excessively on homosexuals”.

The channel also interviewed several public figures with who made similar accusations and called on the authorities to take immediate action.

“[Netflix] was contacted to remove this content, including content directed at children, and to ensure adherence to the laws,” the joint statement from the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media and the GCC Committee of Electronic Media Officials said.

Authorities would follow up on compliance with the directives, and “in the event that the infringing content continues to be broadcast, the necessary legal measures will be taken”, they warned.

There was no immediate response to the accusations from Netflix.

Although Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia has no laws regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, sexual relations outside marriage, including homosexual sex, are strictly prohibited.

Under the country’s interpretation of Islamic law, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death or flogging, depending on the perceived seriousness of the case.

In April, cinemas in Saudi Arabia did not screen the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after Disney refused a request from Saudi authorities to cut what they called “LGBTQ references”.

And the animated film Lightyear, which featured a same-sex kiss, was reportedly banned in the kingdom and the United Arab Emirates in June.

YouTube was meanwhile accused last month by Saudi authorities of permitting “inappropriate adverts” that violated Islamic values.


1 reply

  1. A Hong Kong judge has found five speech therapists guilty of publishing seditious children’s books.

    Their books – about sheep trying to hold back wolves from their village – were interpreted by authorities as having an overtly political message.

    After a two-month trial a government-picked national security judge said their “seditious intention” was clear.

    It comes amid a crackdown on civil liberties since 2020, when China imposed a new national security law.

    Beijing has said the law is needed to bring stability to the city, but critics say it is designed to squash dissent.

    The law makes it easier to prosecute protesters and reduces the city’s overall autonomy, while also increasing Beijing’s influence over political and legal decision-making in the city.

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