Economy

Netflix CEO defends censoring anti-authorities online video in Saudi Arabia

Netflix CEO defends censoring anti-authorities online video in Saudi Arabia”

Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings tackled a wide array of hot topics surrounding the streaming giant during a packed 30-minute keynote session at the New York Times' DealBook conference Wednesday.

"We can carry out a great deal much more by becoming enjoyment and affect the dialogue about the way persons stay, fairly than now being a different information channel", he included. Free of charge-speech purists would like businesses to do more to fight censorship in repressive countries like Saudi Arabia.

The Patriot Act host addressed the removal of the episode himself in a February episode: "This isn't about just censoring one episode of a TV show".

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

"If they came to us and said, "You can't have gay content, ' we wouldn't do that. That's what you stand for", Hastings responded".

"This was a truth to power [moment]", Hastings said. "It's tough. If you want to be a news brand, then you have a different set of things that you do". "And if you want to be an entertainment brand, and that's really about sharing lifestyles, then you do have to draw hard lines, but they're around things that are around lifestyle, not around the current news". The episode in question criticized Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the government's reaction to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi past year. The CIA reportedly concluded a year ago that the crown prince ordered the assassination of Khashoggi, but he's denied it. The episode criticized Saudi Arabia's military campaign in Yemen as well.

He also said it was unlikely Netflix would threaten the business of movie theaters, and defended a recent experiment under which users can watch videos sped up 50%.

In the roughly 18-minute now-censored Patriot Act monologue, Minhaj also mentions the ruling Al Saud family and its vast wealth, saying: "Saudi Arabia is insane".

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

But after receiving a letter from the Saudi government claiming that the episode violated the country's anti-cybercrime law, Netflix pulled the episode from its service.



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