Last Updated on March 30, 2023
Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf Council member states are bothered by several films and series on the Netflix streaming service. Because of the violation of Islamic values, the platform is now threatened with a ban in these conservative countries.
In a joint communiqué on Tuesday, the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, called on the series streaming platform Netflix to stop offering local users content that “ violate Islamic and social values and principles”. They threatened the US company with a ban on their territory. Netflix has not yet responded to a request from the television network CNBC.
Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei might join a potential ban of Netflix too.
The Gulf States justified their request with a “recent observation” that the platform broadcasts video materials and content that violated content control in the Gulf States.
Saudi newspaper Arab News on Tuesday quoted Esra Assery, head of the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media, as saying:
“We will take all legal means to protect the sovereignty and the citizens and residents of the Kingdom from any intellectual attack aimed at damaging its society, values and safety while educating and protecting future generations from harmful content affect negatively.”
According to Assery, the Gulf Council will reverse its decision if Netflix complies with the request to remove the content banned in the six Gulf states. Should such content continue to be accessible to users in these Arab countries, necessary legal measures would follow.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor the Gulf Council revealed exactly what content had offended local authorities. Netflix has not commented on the matter either. Nonetheless, Saudi broadcaster Al Ekhbariya TV on Tuesday accused the streaming service of promoting gay issues. This has a negative impact on the younger generation.
Other Western media companies had previously been warned by the authorities in the Gulf States against the distribution of homosexual content. In June, the animated film Lightyear was banned from showing in 14 Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia because in the film two female characters kiss. In July, the UAE government ordered online retailer Amazon to block search results for LGBTQ products on its website in the country.