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Singapore has become a thorn in Netflix’s side when it comes to demanding video content be removed from the streaming service.
According to Netflix’s annual Environmental Social Governance Report for 2020, Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority ordered the streamer to remove two programs with drug themes: Cooked with Cannabis, in which chefs compete to create marijuana-infused edibles, and the film Have A Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics, in which celebrities recount their experiences using hallucinogenic drugs.
Singapore has some of the strictest drug laws in the world, and that extends to their oversight of content. In fact, of the 13 titles Netflix has removed due to government demands since it launched, 7 have come from Singapore, mostly over scenes of drug use.
Netflix also revealed that the government of Turkey demanded the removal of two titles last year: The controversial French film Cuties, and a season 2 episode of the drama Designated Survivor.
The Designated Survivor episode featured Turkey’s president demanding the extradition of a Turkish opposition leader. While it was a work of fiction, it bore some similarities to the real-life dispute between the Turkish government and cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania and is wanted in Turkey over what it claims was his role in a failed coup attempt.
Netflix also last year opted to cancel its Turkish original series If Only after authorities demanded a gay character be removed from the script.
Netflix says it will reveal the titles it removes over government demands every year, after first disclosing the information in last year’s ESG report. The company’s policy is to comply with local laws regarding content.
The bulk of this year’s ESG report was focused on the company’s plan to be net zero emissions by the end of 2022. It plans to do so through a combination of efforts, including using local crews and electric vehicles, as well as through carbon offsets.
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