Gulf Arab Countries Could Ban Netflix Over Content That “Violates Islamic Values”

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prince mohammed bin salman of Saudia Arabia
prince mohammed bin salman of Saudia Arabia

Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf Arab countries issued a statement asking that Netflix remove content from its streaming platform that “violates Islamic and societal values and principles,” Saudi media has reported.

The statement argued that the streaming behemoth’s content breached the government regulations, though it did not specify which topics or shows broke those rules.

Nonetheless, it’s expected that Netflix shows featuring homosexual characters, same-sex kissing, and children portrayed in a sexual light are the targets of these governments.

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The move was taken “in light of the recent observation that the platform was broadcasting visual material and content which violates content controls in GCC countries,” the statement by the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media and the GCC Committee of Electronic Media Officials said Tuesday.

The content “violates Islamic and societal values and principles. The platform was contacted to remove this content, including content directed at children, and to ensure adherence to the laws.”

The GCC, or Gulf Cooperation Council, comprises the largely conservative, Muslim-majority states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. Homosexuality is criminalized in these countries and can be punished by fines, prison time, or even the death penalty. 

The authorities also threatened legal action if Netflix failed to meet its demand.

“All legal measures will be taken to protect the Kingdom’s sovereignty, citizens and residents from any intellectual attack aimed at affecting its societies, values, safety of upbringing their generations and protecting them from harmful content,” Esra Assery, CEO of the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media, told Saudi outlet Arab News.