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Netflix Pulls Patriot Act Episode

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Netflix Has Removed An Episode Of Hasan Minhaj

Netflix pulls ‘Patriot Act’ episode in Saudi Arabia

New Delhi:

Netflix has removed an episode of Hasan Minhaj-hosted Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia, which featured a segment criticising the countrys Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans alleged involvement in journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The episode will not air in Saudi Arabia but is available elsewhere.

In the episode, Minhaj blames Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggis murder, calling it the biggest tragedy of the MBS era, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Minhaj also spoke about how American companies preferred to keep their business ties intact with Saudi Arabia. Netflix, on its part said they received a legal request from the Saudi government to remove the episode from its platform, though the episode remains available on YouTube.


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We strongly support artistic freedom and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal requestand to comply with local law, Netflix US said in a statement.

Minhajs show started screening in October and is already very popular. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2, 2018, to collect a document for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

Turkish media recently reported that people who came out of the consulate were carrying a bag, which according to the reports, contained Khashoggis body parts

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Netflix Pulls Patriot Act Episode In Saudi Arabia

Netflix has blocked an episode of a comedy show which is critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his alleged role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi from streaming in Saudi Arabia after officials from the Kingdom complained.


Some US lawmakers and the CIA believe the Crown Prince was complicit in the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. The journalist, who resided in Virginia, was reportedly then cut up with a bone saw. His body is yet to be found.

In November, Saudi prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for five people allegedly involved in Khashoggis murder. Riyadh has claimed the killing was organized by rogue elements within the regime, and not overseen by the Crown Prince.

Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj mocked the Saudi account in an episode of his Netflix show, saying this entire cover up exists for one reason just a few months ago Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS, was hailed as the reformer the Arab world needed, but the revelations about Khashoggis killing have shattered that image.

And it blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go, oh I guess hes really not a reformer. Meanwhile every Muslim person you know was like, yeah no s**t.’

MBS is not modernizing Saudi Arabia, the only thing hes modernizing is Saudi dictatorship, he added.


Quite outrageous

Repercussions

Media lockdown

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Netflix Ceo On Pulled Patriot Act Episode: We’re Not Trying To Do Truth To Power

Netflix pulled the episode in Saudi Arabia earlier this year at the behest of the government there.


Rae Hodge

Senior Editor

Rae Hodge is a senior editor at CNET, leading its coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools. She’s a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, reviewing VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is reportedly defending the company’s decision to remove an episode of Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj from its Saudi Arabia service following a kingdom complaint. Hastings’ remarks occurred at a New York Times DealBook conference Wednesday.

“We’re not in the truth to power business, we’re in the entertainment business,” Hastings said, according to a tweet from NBC’s Dylan Byers.


Reed Hastings on taking down show after letter from MBS/Saudi Arabia: Were not in the truth to power business, were in the entertainment business.#dealbook

Dylan Byers

“We’re not in the news business,” Hastings said, as reported by Variety and The Hill. “We don’t feel bad about it at all.”

The episode is still available worldwide on YouTube and outside Saudi Arabia on Netflix.

Netflix didn’t immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment Thursday.

Netflix Pulls ‘patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj’ Episode Critical Of Saudi Arabia

Netflix pulls

Hasan Minhaj performs in ‘Patriot Act’ on Netflix.

CARA HOWE FOR NETFLIX


While Netflix subscribers across the globe were busy perusing the new Comedians of the World special on New Year’s Day, critics were alarmed to discover that the streaming giant had pulled an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj for viewers in Saudi Arabia. Specifically, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, the platform had removed the hit show’s second episode, which is all about Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his influence, at the request of the country’s government.

“Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Minhaj, a former correspondent for The Daily Show, says in the episode, which is still available for viewing in North America. “And I mean that as a Muslim, and as an American.”

The episode, which dives into Mohammed bin Salman’s growing power in and outside of Saudi Arabia, starts with the alleged killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Many intelligence sources, including those here in the United States, have laid the blame directly on the Saudi Crown Prince.

Per Financial Times, Netflix confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission had officially requested that the episode be taken down for subscribers in its region “because it allegedly violated the kingdom’s anti-cyber crime law.” The streamer also issued an official statement on the matter:

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Netflix Pulls Patriot Act Episode In Saudi Arabia Faces Backlash From Human Rights Group

Netflix is under fire from journalists and human rights group Amnesty International after making the decision to remove an episode of Hasan Minhajs show Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia. The episode in question was the series second installment, which featured Minhaj being highly critical of the Saudi Arabian government following the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia, Minhaj said during the episode, and I mean that as a Muslim and an American.

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Minhaj continued by slamming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who the CIA has said is responsible for Khashoggis murder. MBS asked, Why the outrage? and frankly, MBS confusion is completely understandable, the comedian said. He has been getting away with autocratic shit like for years with almost no blowback from the international community.

The revelations about Khashoggis killing have shattered that image and it blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go: Oh I guess hes not really a reformer, Minhaj also said.

IndieWire has reached out to Netflix for further comment.

‘a Line Has To Be Drawn’

Guy Bisson, an entertainment analyst and research director at Ampere Analysis, said it’s not reasonable to expect Netflix to take a position on everything.

“Netflix is a business,” Bisson said. “The Middle East is going to be an important growth market for them, and they have to respect local culture. They can’t take a stand against everything. So a line has to be drawn.”

He said pre-editing and censoring episodes is not unusual in the industry in markets where there are particular moral outlooks or regulations. But he said Netflix is not pre-editing its original content when they release and distribute to multiple markets.

“I assume that Netflix didn’t realize, perhaps, how contentious it would be until they broadcast it, and they pulled it when they were informed it was in breach of local regulation.”

The Saudi cybercrime law states “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, according to Amnesty International.

Saudi prosecutors have used the broadly worded law to imprison rights activists, poets and others who’ve expressed views deemed critical of the government or its policies on social media.

Since Prince Mohammad was named heir to the throne in mid-2017, dozens of writers, activists and moderate clerics have been jailed.

With files from CBC News

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Complying With Local Law

The commission said the episode was in violation of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of the Anti-Cyber Crime Law in Saudi Arabia. Officials at the commission could not be immediately reached for comment.

But Samah Hadid at Amnesty International said, “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.”

“It’s a slippery slope,” said Whitson, questioning which country could be next to demand censorship. “And pretty soon we’ll have effectively a global censorship scheme.”

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Netflix pulls ‘Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj’ episode in Saudi Arabia | DW News

The Saudi government cited a local Saudi statute as its reason to request that the episode be removed. Per Article 6 of that law, 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. The punishment? A maximum of five years in prison and a fine of as much as $800,000. Netflix complied with their legal demand as they always comply with local law in the countries where they operate.

The streamer released a statement, saying, 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.

However, the Saudi government did not request the segment be removed from YouTube. It is still posted and is available to view.

Minhaj responded to Netflixs decision with a bit of derisive humor, noting on Twitter that, Clearly the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online, and then leave it up on YouTube.

Clearly, the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online, and then leave it up on YouTube.

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Hasan Minhaj

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Netflix Pulls ‘patriot Act’ Episode In Saudi Arabia After It Criticized Official Account Of Khashoggi Killing

Netflix has blocked an episode of a comedy show which is critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his alleged role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi from streaming in Saudi Arabia after officials from the Kingdom complained.

Some US lawmakers and the CIA believe the Crown Prince was complicit in the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. The journalist, who resided in Virginia, was reportedly then cut up with a bone saw. His body is yet to be found.

In November, Saudi prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for five people allegedly involved in Khashoggi’s murder. Riyadh has claimed the killing was organized by rogue elements within the regime, and not overseen by the Crown Prince.

“Patriot Act” host Hasan Minhaj mocked the Saudi account in an episode of his Netflix show, saying “this entire cover up exists for one reason … just a few months ago Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS, was hailed as the reformer the Arab world needed, but the revelations about Khashoggi’s killing have shattered that image.”

“And it blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go, ‘oh I guess he’s really not a reformer.’ Meanwhile every Muslim person you know was like, ‘yeah no s**t.'”

“MBS is not modernizing Saudi Arabia, the only thing he’s modernizing is Saudi dictatorship,” he added.

‘Quite outrageous’

‘Repercussions’

Media lockdown

Comedian Hasan Minhaj Says ‘revelations About Khashoggi’s Killing Have Shattered’ Crown Prince’s Image

Netflix is facing criticism for pulling an episode from viewing in Saudi Arabia of American comedian Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act that criticizes the kingdom’s crown prince.

Human rights group Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia’s censorship of Netflix is “further proof of a relentless crackdown on freedom of expression.”

Netflix, in a statement Wednesday, said the episode was removed from the kingdom as a result of a legal request from authorities and not due to its content.

“We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal demand from the government and to comply with local law,” the company said.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, told CBC News she was disappointed that Netflix obeyed the Saudi government’s “absurd order.”

“The government’s making claims that the episode violated their cybercrimes law,” Whitson said. “But that should give you an indication of how absurd their cybercrimes law is because anything that’s deemed insulting to the king or the crown prince is against the law.

“By agreeing to censor content in this absurd, random and extremely subjective way, Netflix has breached its own commitment to artistic freedom,” she said.

Minhaj said the crown prince was being hailed as the reformer the Arab world needed until Khashoggi’s killing.

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Netflix Removes Hasan Minhaj Comedy Episode After Saudi Demand

    Netflix has removed from its streaming service in Saudi Arabia an episode of a comedy show critical of the kingdom.

    The second episode of Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj was removed following a legal demand, which reportedly said it violated a Saudi anti-cybercrime law.

    It features Minhaj mocking the actions of Saudi officials following the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and condemning the crown prince’s policies.

    Netflix said it backed artistic freedom but had to “comply with local law”.

    Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

    Saudi officials initially insisted the 59-year-old had left the building alive. But they later acknowledged that he was murdered by a team of Saudi agents and that his body was dismembered before being disposed of elsewhere.

    What Did Hasan Minhaj Say

    “Just a few months ago, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as ‘MBS’, was hailed as the reformer the Arab World needed. But the revelations about Khashoggi’s killing have shattered that image,” said Minhaj in the episode of Patriot Act removed by Netflix.

    Since being named second-in-line to the throne in June 2017, Prince Mohammed has introduced a raft of headline-grabbing reforms, such as lifting the ban on women being allowed to drive and seeking to shift its economy away from oil.

    But, he has also been criticised for escalating a crackdown on dissenting voices, among them a number of women’s rights activists, pursuing a war in neighbouring Yemen that has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, and starting a diplomatic dispute with Qatar that has divided the Gulf Co-operation Council.

    At the end of the episode, Minhaj said: “I am genuinely rooting for change in Saudi Arabia. I am rooting for the people of Saudi Arabia. There are people in Saudi Arabia fighting for true reform, but MBS is not one of them.”

    “And to those who continue to work with him, just know that with every deal you close you are simply helping entrench an absolute monarch under the guise of progress, because ultimately MBS is not modernising Saudi Arabia. The only thing he is modernising is Saudi dictatorship.”

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