Home Media & Culture Netflix criticized for banning anti-Saudi Arabia content

Netflix criticized for banning anti-Saudi Arabia content

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News Desk |

Netflix recently landed in hot waters after it pulled off anti-Saudi Arabia episode. The second episode of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act series took a dig at Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

The American Comedian Hassan Minhaj used the second episode of the series to criticize Muhammad Bin Salman on the killing of journalist and writer Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen.

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Human rights group Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia’s censorship of Netflix is “further proof of a relentless crackdown on freedom of expression.” PEN America, the literary and human rights organization, said the move “legitimizes repression.” Netflix said it was simply complying with local law.

Khashoggi was a writer and columnist in Washington Post and was known for writing critical columns against the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, last year.

“It blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go: ‘Oh I guess he’s not really a reformer,'” Minhaj said in the episode.

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Minhaj also mentions the ruling Al Saud family and its vast wealth, saying: “Saudi Arabia is crazy. One giant family controls everything.” Netflix resultantly issued a statement and stated that they remove the episode from Kingdom on the request of the Saudi government and not due to its content.

“We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal demand from the government — and to comply with local law,” the streaming giant said.

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Hassan Minhaj took to Twitter to condemn the censorship and wrote, “Clearly, the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online, and then leave it up on YouTube.” It is, however, important to note that the episode is accessible and available on other social media platforms.


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