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Egypt’s ‘Societal Values’ to Be Imposed on Netflix, Disney+

September 8, 2022
The Netflix Inc. website and logo are displayed on laptop computers arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Netflix Inc., the largest subscription streaming service, is expected to release earnings data on Jan. 22. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) issued a statement in which it announced it would issue regulatory rules and licenses for streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ in light of content which runs contrary to the country’s values.

“The license and regulations require a commitment to the societal values and traditions of the country, and stipulate the necessary actions to be taken in case of the broadcasting of material that contravene the values of society,” the SCMR said in a statement published on Wednesday.

Joining six other Arab countries in their battle against ‘westernized’ content which is culturally perceived at odds with societal and religious values in the Middle East, Egypt’s viewership has increasingly expressed reservations on social media platforms.

A day prior, on 6 September, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, issued a statement requesting Netflix to remove “offensive content” from its platform, as per Reuters.

Following the release of Netflix’s first Arabic original film ‘Ashab wala A’azz’ (‘Perfect Strangers’ in English) in January, many Arab viewers criticized reputable Western streaming services for airing content that was contentious in the region, particularly productions with LGBTQ themes.

In April, Marvel Studios’ film, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, was banned in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries due to its inclusion of an LGBTQ+ character. This was followed by Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” ban in 11 Middle East countries for a same-sex kiss scene.

Nonetheless, Disney+ and Netflix, particularly the latter since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, amassed a large viewership in the last years.

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