Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Saudi Arabia: Censorship of Netflix Is Latest Proof of Crackdown on Freedom of Expression

WASHINGTON -

Responding to news that Netflix have removed an episode from a comedy show in Saudi Arabia, after officials from the Kingdom complained that it violated cyber-crime laws, Samah Hadid, Middle East Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International, said:

“Saudi Arabia’s censorship of Netflix using a cyber-crime law comes as no surprise, and is further proof of a relentless crackdown on freedom of expression in the Kingdom.

“Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman came to power in June 2017, many outspoken human rights defenders, activists and critics have been arbitrarily detained, or unjustly sentenced to lengthy prison terms simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

“The authorities have previously used anti cyber-crime laws to silence dissidents, creating an environment of fear for those who dare to speak up in Saudi Arabia.

“By bowing to the Saudi Arabian authorities’ demands, Netflix is in danger of facilitating the Kingdom’s zero-tolerance policy on freedom of expression and assisting the authorities in denying people’s right to freely access information.”

Background

In Saudi Arabia, Netflix removed an episode of satirical comedy show Patriot Act that was critical of the country’s authorities after officials from the Kingdom complained.

American comedian Hasan Minhaj was critical of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a monologue that discussed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Kingdom’s account of what happened inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, when the journalist was forcibly disappeared and killed.

The Saudi telecoms regulator had cited a cyber-crime law that states that “production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers” is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine.

In a statement, Netflix said: “We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request – and to comply with local law.”

This statement can be found online at https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/saudi-arabia-censorship-of-netflix-is-latest-proof-of-crackdown-on-freedom-of-expression/

Follow Amnesty International USA on Twitter.

###

Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people – no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization.

One Year In, Biden Fails to Boost C- Grade on Environment

The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund assessment indicates the administration's action to deliver on environmental promises "desperately needs improvement."

Jessica Corbett ·


'A No-Brainer': Lawmakers Urge Pelosi to Hold Vote on Stock Trading Ban

"Perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities," said House members in a bipartisan letter. "We don't care."

Jessica Corbett ·


Virginia Schools Sue Youngkin Mandate Making Masks Optional

The Republican governor wants to allow parents to decide whether their children should wear masks to school to mitigate Covid-19 transmission—guidance at least 58 school districts have no plans to follow.

Julia Conley ·


US Puts Troops on Standby as War Tensions Over Ukraine Mount

The U.K. threatens "lightning war" as military forces mobilize in eastern Europe.

Andrea Germanos ·


Advocacy Group Urges Pfizer to Combat Paxlovid Inequality

"Help end the pandemic this year around the world," one advocate told Pfizer. "Not just in a handful of rich countries."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo