Egypt will censor Netflix, Disney + content

CAIRO – Egypt Supreme Council for Media Regulation recently announced that a new regulation and licenses will be released for streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney +.

In a September 7 statement, the country’s highest media regulator said a growing number of subscribers both Netflix and Disney + in Egypt are calling for greater regulation of the content of these platforms.

“The licenses and regulations include the obligation of these platforms to respect the social norms and values ​​of the state and the taking of the necessary measures in case of transmission of materials that conflict with the values ​​of the company,” the board said in a statement. . He did not specify the nature of these new regulations and licenses for online streaming platforms.

The board’s announcement came the day after the Saudi Arabian General Commission for Audiovisual Media and the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Committee of Electronic Media Officials (GCC) invited Netflix in a joint statement to remove content that “blatantly contradicts Islamic and social values ​​and principles”.

“In light of the recent observation that the platform was broadcasting visual material and content that violates content controls in GCC countries, Islamic and social values ​​and principles, the platform was contacted to remove this content, including content directed at children. “, reads the statement. “In the event that infringing content continues to be available, necessary legal steps will be taken.”

Although neither statement specified the content in question, a September 10th Asharq the report suggested that the decision was linked to season 5 of the animated series “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous“, Which portrays a homosexual relationship between two girls.

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In June the film “Light year” was prohibited in 14 countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for including a scene of two women kissing.

In April, Egypt and the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, banned the film “Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness”For including a character who talks about his two mothers.

In early 2022, Netflix released its first Arabic-language film, “Perfect Strangers,” with an immediate backlash in Egypt, where Egyptian actors were heavily criticized for participating in a film that showcases marital infidelity and homosexuality.

Art critic Tariq el-Shennawy told Al-Monitor: “Disney + has responded to demands from the Middle East in general and has in fact decided to ban homosexual scenes in child-directed content, which means the pressure exerted by the Arab countries paid off. “

August 22 Disney + REMOVED “Light year”And the“ Baymax ”series from its content available in the Middle East.

Shennawy said that bans and censorship are not real solutions, as users can find many ways to access blocked sites. She continued: “Bans and censorship have become weapons of the past. Arab countries must instead work to educate Arab citizens to be able to choose what is consistent with their values ​​and culture, reject actions that contradict that culture and raise children with freedom of choice ”.

On August 24, the Egyptian Ministry of Education announced a campaign against homosexuality which includes seminars and lectures in schools on the importance of specific religious values. The campaign will start in October with the start of the new school year.

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Shennawy stressed: “The pandemic and the lockdowns imposed in most Middle Eastern countries have helped to do so platforms like Netflix and Disney + more popular among Arabs ”. CNN Arabia reported in April that the number of Netflix subscribers had reached 221.6 million worldwide. However, no data is available on the number of subscribers in Egypt or the Middle East.

Asharq’s September 10 report states that the step taken by the Gulf states and Egypt “will be the first step in negotiations with the platform to review its content and adapt its library to Arab culture. “

Laila Abdel Meguid, the former dean of Cairo University’s Faculty of Mass Communication, told Al-Monitor that “as many young people and children watch content on these platforms, it is important to ensure that it is in line with values. Egyptian society. “He added:” The council’s decision does not interfere with or undermine the freedom of these platforms. “

Meguid said the board had previously fixed it regulations for Egyptian content. He rejected the idea that Netflix and Disney + try to promote intentionally homosexuality, saying, “We must not fall into conspiracy theories. Each platform has its own editorial and media policy, some of which are incompatible with our societies, such as with regard to homosexuality. Families should provide guidance on these issues “.

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