Dubai: Gulf countries warns Netflix to censor content violating Islamic standards

Dubai and other Gulf countries warned Netflix, asking to pull down the content on the OTT platform and violating Islamic and societal standards.

Dubai and other Gulf countries warned Netflix, asking to pull down the content on the OTT platform and violating Islamic and societal standards.

Gulf Arab countries, including Dubai, have urged Netflix to clear content that, in their opinion, is disregarding “Islamic and societal standards” in the region.

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The countries have asked Netflix to edit or censor the portions of the shows that portray same-sex relationships.

Dubai and other Gulf countries have also warned that if Netflix did not remove the content as soon as possible, the nations would take strict legal action against the OTT platform.

Reuters is reporting on the matter. In a programme addressing the issue, Saudi state-run Al Ekhbariya TV played blurred-out animation clips showing the same-sex relationships between two girls.

The content violates media laws in the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, said the General Commission for Audiovisual Media in Riyadh.

The commission also warned that legal measures would be taken against the OTT platform if it continued to broadcast offensive content.

The UAE released a similar statement about content on Netflix, stating that it would observe what the platform promotes in the following days and evaluate its commitment to broadcasting controls in the country.

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Note that in many countries following Islam, same-sex relationships are illegal. As a result, regulators in those countries have banned films that feature such relationships in the past. They also sometimes edit movies that contain profanity or illegal drug usage.

Based in the US, Netflix often has content that is in line with norms prevailing in developed countries. However, when the service streams this same content in countries that are not liberal and where the governments have a tendency to control what people can see or not see, it runs into legal and policy issues.

Although seemingly binding in Gulf countries because of their rigid norms, the difficulty can be seen even in India, where there have been calls to censor content on streaming sites.

Companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime often edit some parts or dialogues to clean their content for markets like India.

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