Turkey's media watchdog orders Netflix to block 'Cuties' film ahead of launch
Turkey’s media watchdog RTÜK has ordered Netflix to remove the French-made feature film Cuties on grounds that it contains images of child exploitation. The plot of "Cuties" centres on an 11-year-old Muslim girl who "starts to rebel against her conservative family's traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew," according to Netflix.
Turkey's broadcasting watchdog said on Sept. 3 it will order Netflix to block access locally to the soon-to-be-released French film "Cuties" on grounds that it contains images of child exploitation.Family ministry asks Turkey's media watchdog to adopt measures against Netflix's Cuties
Theruling came ahead of the film's Sept. 9 international release on theU.S. online streaming service, and followed recent media reports ofTurkish government interference in a separate planned Netflix seriesfeaturing a gay character.
Theplot of "Cuties" centres on an 11-year-old Muslim girl who"starts to rebel against her conservative family's traditionswhen she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew,"according to Netflix.
Aftera board meeting, the Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK) said:"It was decided unanimously that the broadcaster must remove therelevant programme from its catalogue."
A board report judged that such a film, "containing exploitation and abuse, might lead to potential child exploitation behaviour patterns emerging," RTÜK said of its first case related to a video-on-demand platform.Netflix refutes claims that it will exit Turkey
Netflix,the world's biggest streaming service with more than 1.5 millionsubscribers in Turkey, could not be immediately reached for commenton the decision.
Turkey'sFamily Ministry last month requested that the board evaluate the filmover concerns about its impact, noting it appeared like a children'smovie, but had an 18+ rating.
"Cuties"was previously criticised internationally over its promotional posterfor allegedly sexualising 11-year-old girls. Netflix then apologisedfor what it called "inappropriate artwork," saying it wasnot representative of the film.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) along with its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has a majority of members in RTÜK.Ruling AKP says character in Netflix series 'Love 101' was originally gay, confessing to censorship
IfNetflix goes ahead with screening the film, its licence could betemporarily suspended, Turkish media reports have said.
InJuly, separate media reports said a dispute had arisen betweenNetflix and Ankara over a gay character in a planned series.
Asource familiar with the situation said at the time Netflix decidedto cancel the show after authorities denied its filming permitapplication because of the character, and it was not able to shootthe show with its original script.
Erdoğansaid in July that Turkey would introduce regulations to controlsocial media platforms or shut them down, pressing ahead withgovernment plans after he said his family was insulted online. Hereferred to Netflix in those comments.