Netflix users in Saudi Arabia will not be able to see the episode of a satirical program in which the government of his country is criticized. The giant of streaming has decided to withdraw it in this country after receiving the complaint from the Communications and Information Technology Commission of theeino Technology Commission. In the censored program, Hasan Minhaj – a comedian and American political commentator, Muslim and with Indian descent – blame Saudi Arabia for murder of the journalist of the Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The claudication of Netflix raises new questions about the limits of freedom of expression.
The newspaper Financial Times has reported that the streaming giant had deleted an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (translated into Spain as an Unwanted Patriot) in Saudi Arabia after receiving a request from the kingdom, which argued that the video violates its laws.
In the episode, which aired in October in the US, the comic tilda to the regime of "autocratic" and criticizes especially the crown prince Mohamed bin Salmán and to the military campaign led by the Saudis in Yemen. "It would be a good time to reevaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia and I say this as a Muslim and as an American," he says.
This kind of statements supposedly affect "public order, religious values, public morals and privacy" in the opinion of the authorities of the Saudi country, as explained by the Financial Times.
Remove outrageous that @Netflix has pulled one of his episodes critical of Saudi Arabia.
– Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) January 1, 2019
Khashoggi, who resided in Virginia, was very critical of the Saudi regime. On October 2 he went to the consulate of his country in Istanbul for some procedures related to his marriage and did not leave there alive. Riad was giving different versions until three weeks later admitted that he had died in the diplomatic legation facilities at the hands of agents who would have acted for free. However, the CIA investigations, whose conclusions were released on November 17 by the American press, They pointed out that the Saudi heir had ordered his death. The US Senate approved in December two symbolic resolutions in which the prince was blamed for the murder and urged to end the United States' involvement in the conflict with Yemen.
Karen Attiah, publisher of Khashoggi in the Washington Post, on Tuesday tweeted the Netflix measure of "quite outrageous". Netflix, which has not commented on the thorny issue in its social networks, has confirmed that it eliminated it last week and has defended its decision in a statement published byFinancial Times and Hollywood Reporter. "We strongly support artistic freedom throughout the world and we only eliminate this episode in Saudi Arabia after having received a valid legal request and to be able to comply with local law," reads the note. The episode can be seen in other parts of the world and in Saudi Arabia it can also be found on YouTube.
The large internet corporations and technology companies are facing increasing public scrutiny and skepticism about the exchange of data and the constant erosion of privacy.
The NGO Reporters without Borders placed Saudi Arabia in October in place 169 of 180 countries in terms of press freedom. "It is very likely that it will fall even lower in the 2019 index due to the seriousness of the violence and the abuses of all kinds against journalists," he adds.
Minhaj, 33, has seen his popularity grow. In the series, he combines his personal story with sharp political commentaries wrapped in avant-garde humor. "Hasan Minhaj proposes an incisive and nuanced point of view on global news, politics and culture in this unique series of humor", says Netflix to present the series.
In 2014 he became the main correspondent in the popular The Daily Show of Comedy Central and in 2017 was the main speaker of the White House correspondents dinner. Patriot Act it debuted in October 2018 and seven programs have been issued. Minhaj won a Peabody Award for this space.