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Saudi Arabia pulls down Netflix comedy show criticising its role in the Jamal Khashoggi murder

Standup comedian Hasan Minhaj, an American of Indian descent, was critical of the Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammad bin-Salman in his Netflix show the Patriot Act. 

The media-service providing platform Netflix has been caught in on outrage after it pulled down an episode of a comedy show, critical of Saudi Arabia’s crown for his alleged role in journalist Jamal Khashoggi murder inside consulate in Turkey.

Three months ago, the world was rocked by the disappearance of Washington Post’s journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was living in a self-imposed exile in the USA. According to reports, he was assassinated by Saudi government officials, inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi was a marked critic of the Saudi regime, for its human rights violations and for its role in the devasting civil war of Yemen. His assassination was seen as an assault on free speech. Initially, Saudi had denied allegation levied by Turkey of been complicit in the crime. But, subsequently, Saudi admitted that the journalist had been killed in fist-fight inside the consulate. Central Intelligence Agency of USA also backed Turkey’s allegations and contradicted Saudi’s claim that murder was spontaneous and not pre-meditated. CIA also added that crown prince himself was involved in the murder and privy of the events.

Standup comedian Hasan Minhaj, an American of Indian descent, was critical of the Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin-Salman in his show the Patriot Act. He mocked Saudi’s dispensation, of mass human rights abuses by its military campaigns in the Gulf region since 2015.

Hasan said that Saudi’s Mission in 2030, which is apparently aimed at diversifying Saudi’s oil-dependent economy,  is actually aimed at coercion, detention of people critical about the regime. He said that by 2030, Saudi would have executed around 2000 people. He also talked about Yemen which is caught in the middle of the proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and its rival Iran. He said that devastation of Yemen started with the rise of Prince Salman, and cited reports which claimed that so-far Saudi coalition has launched 18,000 airstrikes on Yemen, aggravating the civil war.

“At one point they were saying he died in a fist fight, Jackie Chan-style. They went through so many explanations. The only one they didn’t say was that Khashoggi died in a free solo rock-climbing accident,” the comedian mocked Saudi Arabia’s confessions.
Netflix has cited Saudi’s law, that they are bound to comply with.
“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,”  Netflix was quoted by media. Reports add that Saudi has used a cyber-crime law that states that producing, transmitting or storing material violation public order, religious value and privacy is a punishable offence in prison.
Hasan, in his removed episode, also accused the USA of turning a blind eye towards Saudi deeds. President Trump had contradicted his own state agency’s claim about Prince Salman’s involvement in the assassination, he said. He also urged them to sever all diplomatic ties with the Islamic country. He also added that media often gets distracted by the HR drama of Saudi, of diluting its laws and providing freedom to women of the country.
The removed episode is still available for streaming on Youtube and Netflix outside Saudi.

The move by Netflix has been widely condemned by Human Right group, for bowing down to Saudi and curbing free speech. This is not the first time that Saudi dispensation is condemned for censoring speech and taking action against them.

Reporters Without Borders has ranked the Islamic country on number 169th out of 180 for press freedom.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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