Egypt's media regulating agency has announced that it will impose strict rules on streaming platforms such as Netflix in an effort to preserve Islamic societal norms and values.
According to the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR), Netflix, Disney+, and other streaming services would also need to submit license applications in order to be allowed to operate in the country.
The announcement is in line with similar actions taken by media organizations in Gulf states asking Netflix to take down material that they said went against Islamic principles and customs, including content targeted at youngsters, which appears to be a reference to LGBTQ+ content.
Gulf governments led by Saudi Arabia have threatened legal action if Netflix continues to stream programs they believe to be anti-Islamic. This development came after a media campaign was launched accusing Netflix of encouraging homosexuality.
The Egyptian government, however, did not specify which programs were objectionable, only that they violated Islamic law. According to SCMR, in the event that the content is still broadcast, the appropriate authorities will monitor the platform's compliance with these guidelines and will take the required legal measures.
Most Arab nations forbid homosexuality and consider it to be taboo among their populations. Authorities occasionally impose stricter laws on what they view as LGBT+ behavior or culture, frequently in response to media campaigns.
On Tuesday, a report was shown on an official Saudi television channel and urged the government to take action against Netflix. A recent ad of two female cartoon characters kissing on Netflix infuriated many. The scene has been viewed as promoting homosexuality among children. The scene was taken from the Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous animated series on Netflix.
In addition, many Gulf nations were infuriated by a French movie called Cuties, about a Muslim girl who joins a dancing group and pedophiles. Netflix was compelled to issue an apology for Cuties promotional content after a petition claimed the network had sexualized young people in 2020.
Early this year, after the business reported a decline in subscribers, Netflix shares fell. The third-quarter results and increase in subscribers have helped the shares rebound, albeit they are still significantly below their prices from the previous year.
Regional streaming platforms like Shahid and Starz are a threat to the Netflix’s dominant position in the Middle East. What legal actions the Gulf nations would take against Netflix and how the corporation intended to respond were not immediately clear.
Islamic governments already censor access to select media outlets and pornographic material. In the past, Netflix has removed or restricted content at the behest of governments, including a comedy show episode that Riyadh objected to.
In most Arab states including Egypt, rainbow-colored toys and apparel have been seized from shops because it believed they encourage homosexuality. Recently, Amazon was compelled by the United Arab Emirates to limit searches and purchases related to LGBT+ topics. The crackdown was carried out at a time when traditional Saudis were uneasy about social advances made in the formerly extremely orthodox country, including the introduction of mixed crowds at concerts and movies.
Authorities in the socially liberal and predominantly expatriate-populated UAE have faced criticism on social problems from certain Emiratis. Many citizens objected to the decriminalization of homosexuality. Foreign embassies have come under fire on social media for flying the rainbow flag during Pride week.
Authorities often detain people in Egypt who are allegedly homosexual, including a roundup of concertgoers in 2017 after they displayed rainbow flags after a performance.