Netflix Bows To The Saudis
Reason magazine|April 2019

Even tech giants have to follow the law.

Declan Mccullagh

In January, The New York Times reported that free speech had suffered a set back when Netflix restricted access to an episode of a comedy act at the request of the government of Saudi Arabia. The episode of Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act, which included impolitic remarks about the Saudi crown prince, remains available to Netflix subscribers elsewhere.

The Times underscored its displeasure by publishing an opinion piece attacking “Netflix’s supine compliance” in the face of a “dictatorial crackdown,” with a historical Hitler reference tossed in for good measure. A few days later, the Times published a second opinion article lamenting that the “streaming giant has set a disturbing precedent” and has “lent some legitimacy to the claim that it is wrong for Saudis to ever hear their leaders criticized.”

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