Egypt is to establish a licensing framework for digital entertainment platforms like Netflix that will require them to conform to the majority-Muslim country’s “social values,” the regulatory body said.The announcement late Wednesday comes just days after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors asked Netflix to drop content that conflicted with Islamic social values.
“Regulatory and licensing rules for digital platforms like Netflix and Disney+ will be put in place that will include their commitment to respect the norms and social values of the state,” Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation said in a statement.
The council vowed to take the “necessary steps in the event of the streaming of content contrary to the values of society”, but gave no details of any enforcement plans.
Netflix is no stranger to controversy in Egypt. In January, the release of the platform’s first venture into Arabic-language film production, “Ashab wala Aaz”, prompted lawsuits and calls in parliament for a ban even as the film shot up the most-watched list.
One of countless remakes of the Italian comedy-drama “Perfetti Sconosciutti” (Perfect Strangers), the film touches on topics from adultery and premarital sex to homosexuality widely considered taboo in Egypt.
Public appetite for such films has clashed with a mounting backlash as Egypt has become more conservative and freedoms have been further curtailed under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former military chief.