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Saudi & Gulf Nations threaten Netflix to remove anti-Islamic content; When will Hindus replicate the same in India and protect their Dharma?

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Saudi Arabia and various Gulf countries have threatened the renowned OTT platform Netflix with legal action if it does not remove the allegedly offensive content. The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issued a statement saying it has contacted Netflix and asked it to remove the content immediately.

These countries claim that Netflix is showing films and series that “contradict Islamic and societal values ​​and principles.” If Netflix refuses to remove this content, then GCC may look at taking legal action.

Saudi and GCC media has suggested the content relates to depictions of LGBTQIA+ characters, with one woman who was identified as a ‘behavioral consultant’. These nations have started calling Netflix “an official sponsor of homosexuality.” It has also been mentioned that Netflix could be banned if certain content reaches children.

Saudi state television aired a report on Tuesday that included an interview with a woman identified as a “behavioral consultant” who described Netflix as being an “official sponsor of homosexuality”.

It also aired footage of an animated show that streams on Netflix, Jurassic Park: Camp Cretaceous, which showed two female characters kissing, though the footage was blurred out.

The GCC, or Gulf Cooperation Council, is comprised of the largely conservative, Muslim-majority states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. Homosexuality is criminalized in these countries and can be punished by fines, prison time, or even the death penalty.

Netflix has not yet publicly responded to the statement made by the GCC countries. But most of its users in western countries have celebrated the featuring of LGBTQ+ characters and content on the streaming platform, saying it sets a positive example for inclusivity and representation. Netflix still boasts the highest number of users of any paid-subscription streaming service, with some 220 million subscribers worldwide as of last June.

Esra Assery, CEO of the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media, told Saudi outlet Arab News, “All legal measures will be taken to protect the Kingdom’s sovereignty, citizens, and residents from any intellectual attack aimed at affecting its societies, values, the safety of upbringing their generations and protecting them from harmful content.”

GCC and Gulf nations always Crackdown on anti-Islamic content

This is not the first time Arab and Gulf countries have clashed with Western media on the issue of homosexual and anti-Islamic content. In June, the Gulf countries, along with various Asian countries banned the cinematic release of Disney Pixar’s animated movie “Lightyear” over its feature of a same-sex relationship and a brief same-sex kiss.

Again in July, the UAE government directed the e-commerce giant Amazon to block search results for LGBTQ-related products on its UAE-specific website. In the same month, Saudi Arabia raided numerous children’s stores to seize rainbow-themed toys and clothing as part of a crackdown on homosexuality.

In India, we have almost no control over Anti-Hindu content

We must appreciate the way these countries are standing against the platforms like Netflix and Amazon and forcing them to remove the objectionable content which hurts the feeling of their citizens.

But we have seen a lack of similar zeal and strategy from the Indian Government and Hindus in India. We have seen how Netflix, Amazon, and various other OTT platforms have released series and films, where Hindu Gods were shown in a bad light and saffron-clad sages and sadhus were shown in compromising positions.

Pro Hindu organization VHP had also written to the information and broadcasting ministry and the Censor board for adequate screening of web-based and OTT content. They have also pleaded with the government to bring these platforms under the ambit of censorship laws. But nothing much has happened till now.

Though Hindus showed anger against the anti-Hindu content in programs such as Tandav and Patal Lok on its OTT platform, which forced Amazon to alter the content and tender an apology. But the company is still airing such shows in which Hindu deities are made fun of and family values are assaulted. They even allow sellers on their platform to showcase weird and shameful items that hurt the sentiments of Hindus.

The irony is, when a section of Hindus raise concern against such content, the other section also raise their voice to protect the so called ‘freedom of expression’. This tendency is called ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, where Hindus are defending those who are actually harming their religion and culture.

Hindus must come together and force the government to devise a content regulatory framework for OTT platforms so that such shameless and anti-Hindu content is not made and published in India. We must take the cue from the Arab and GCC nations and ensure we take stern action against the violators.

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