September 30, 2022

Six Gulf countries warn Netflix of content that violates “Islamic values” | LGBTQ+ rights

A group of Persian Gulf countries threatened Netflix Legal action will be taken if it continues to broadcast content that “contradicts” Islam, while Saudi media indicated that the offensive material focused on shows depicting sexual minorities.

A statement issued jointly by the Saudi Media Regulatory Authority and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council based in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, did not specifically specify the material, referring only to content that “contradicts Islamic and societal values.”

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

Regional authorities will “monitor the platform’s compliance with the directives, and in the event that the offending content continues to be broadcast, necessary legal measures will be taken.”

The Gulf Cooperation Council includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Kingdom Saudi Arabiaand the United Arab Emirates.

There was no immediate reaction from Netflix.

While the GCC did not specifically specify what content is considered offensive, one clip from the Saudi state-run news channel Al-Ekhbariya lamented “children’s films and series with scenes promoting homosexuality under dramatic cover via Netflix”.

These are “extremely painful clips for our children, grandchildren and the next generation,” a lawyer said in a live interview.

A separate clip, also on Al-Ekhbariya, showed clips from the Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous animation program in which two characters kiss, although the channel blurs their faces.

The channel interviewed a “family and educational consultant” who said that offensive material was “infiltrating our homes” and that the country was facing a “censorship crisis.”

Gulf states have repeatedly clashed with US film distributors over content related to sexual minorities, especially in films.

The United Arab Emirates in June banned the Disney animated film “Lightyear,” which contains a lesbian kiss.

The UAE is considered one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf region, although films with adult content are routinely cut or edited.

Saudi Arabia, which only opened cinemas in 2017, asked Disney in April to delete “LGBTQ references” in the Marvel superhero film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Disney did not comply and the film was not shown in the Kingdom.

In June, Saudi state media filmed officials seizing rainbow-coloured toys and items from stores in the capital as part of a crackdown on homosexuality, a possible crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Items targeted in the raids included rainbow-colored bows, skirts, hats and pencil cases, most of which appeared to be made for young children.

with AFP