Egypt demands Netflix, others adhere to ‘social values’

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s media regulator on Wednesday demanded that Netflix and other streaming services adhere to the “social values” of this Muslim-majority country, a veiled reference to shows featuring members of the Muslim-majority community. LGBTQ.

The statement came a day after the Persian Gulf countries asked Netflix to remove “offensive content” on the streaming service, apparently targeting shows featuring gays and lesbians.

According to the Egyptian government statement, streaming services must comply with the “social principles and values ​​of the country” in which they are broadcast. The statement asks them to take “necessary measures if they transmit content that contradicts the values ​​of society.”

The statement from the Supreme Council for Media Regulation did not provide further details. Los Gatos, California-based Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Homosexuality is highly taboo in Egypt, where a 2013 Pew Research Center survey found that 95% of respondents said it should be “rejected by society.”

Although the law does not explicitly prohibit it, members of the LGBTQ community are often prosecuted on charges of “immorality” and “licentiousness.” Authorities regularly arrest gay men, with large police raids on private parties or places like public toilets, restaurants and bars.

Egypt’s film industry, long celebrated in the Middle East, also prohibits movies and shows from featuring gays and lesbians.

In June, countries in the Muslim world banned public viewing of Disney’s latest animated film “Lightyear,” which has a brief moment showing two lesbian characters kissing. After that, the company’s Disney+ streaming service said its “available content should align with local regulatory requirements” in Gulf countries. .

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In January, Netflix’s first Arab film “No Dearer Friends” sparked controversy, with critics saying it threatened family and religious values, promoted homosexuality and was allegedly unfit for Arab societies. At least one lawmaker, Mostafa Bakry, called for Netflix to be banned in Egypt.

The film contains scenes unprecedented for the country’s audience: an Egyptian wife discreetly removes her black lace underwear from under her clothes before going out to dinner; a man reveals that he is gay and a Lebanese father tells his teenage daughter that she is free to choose whether to have sex with her boyfriend despite her reservations.

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