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Netflix investigated over LGBT content

Netflix is being investigated by Russia for LGBT content, and the firm might face punishment as well as a temporary suspension of services.

According to Reuters, Russian officials are looking into a complaint against Netflix after the public commissioner for family protection accused the corporation of breaking a “gay propaganda” statute. 

According to the commissioner, certain Netflix programming with LGBTQIA+ themes was rated appropriate for people aged 16 and up. The spreading of “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relations” to people under the age of 18 is illegal in the country.

Netflix could face a fine of up to a million rubles ($13,390) if the Interior Ministry finds it has infringed the law. More importantly, the service may be momentarily halted.

During a check-in in November, Netflix said it didn’t identify any LGBT content that was rated 16+. (Netflix confirmed to Engadget that titles were appropriately assessed and that the evaluations were accurate). 

Officials may prevent streaming services from holding series and movies depicting “non-traditional sexual relationships and sexual aberrations” in their libraries, according to the publication, which includes Fifty Shades of Gray and Billions.

In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights found that the 2013 “propaganda” law discriminates against LGBTQIA+ individuals and violates European treaty norms as well as the right to freedom of expression. The regulation has also been attacked by activists and Western states.

Meanwhile, Russia is pursuing a broader offensive against international IT firms. Apple, Facebook parent Meta, Google, TikTok, Telegram, and Twitter, among others, will be required to establish formal presences in the country by the end of the year, if they haven’t already done so.

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