Netflix‘s first Arabic Original, Jinn, has fallen foul of government officials in Jordan, where the supernatural series is set. Jordanian officials have condemned the teen drama for its “lewd scenes” with calls for censorship and removal of the teen drama series from Netflix’s service in the country.
Jinn started streaming on Netflix on Thursday, June 13. Criticism followed fast. According to the AP, several government officials condemned the series and “vowed to censor it for alleged ‘lewd scenes’ that purportedly violate public morals.” The Jordanian cyber-crimes unit is in the process of getting the show removed from Netflix, although no concrete action has been taken yet.
Netflix responded to the controversy via its Middle East and North Africa Twitter account. The company slammed criticism of Jinn as a “wave of bullying,” adding, “Our position has always been centered on the values of diversity and inclusiveness” (translated from Arabic).
The Royal Film Commission (RFC) also issued a statement via its Twitter and Facebook accounts on Friday regarding “the controversial reactions regarding the series on Netflix”.
“It is important to clarify once again the role of the RFC. According to the law, by which the RFC was established, its role consists in encouraging local productions, attracting foreign productions and facilitating production in general. There is no censorship prerogative amongst RFC’s tasks and duties,” the RFC statement said.
Therefore, the RFC statement added, “we don’t look into the scripts. This doesn’t mean that we are shying away from our responsibilities but rather sticking to our tasks and duties. This doesn’t mean either that the RFC condones or approves or encourages the content of a film or a series”.
There are demands for more individual freedoms and choices, according to the RFC. But then when “we are faced with issues like this, some people tend to forget about these legitimate demands. After all, this is also an issue of personal choice to watch or not to watch content that we may not all agree upon”.
The RFC statement added: “It is important to remember that ‘Jinn’ is fiction, not a documentary. Therefore it is not meant to reflect the reality nor even a large part of it.”
The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) also said it was following up on the latest developments regarding the series, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
“The production of such series is not within our jurisdiction and our role does not include monitoring the content and the script,” the JTB said, adding that “its role as stipulated in its regulations is to facilitate the missions for the companies and institutes that use the tourist sites in the Kingdom”.
“The JTB’s role is to issue approvals for licensed production companies inside the country and has no role in examining the scripts or scenarios.”
The Jordan Media Commission (JMC) issued a statement saying this series does not fall within its jurisdiction. “The JMC is not responsible for the monitoring and viewing of the series’ script or any technical matters related to filming, production or directing,” the JMC statement said.
Produced by Kabreet Productions, the drama is directed and executive produced by Mir-Jean Bou-Chaaya (the Lebanese director of “Very Big Shot”) and executive produced by Elan and Rajeev Dassani (producers of the short film “Seam”), with Elan Dassani serving as head writer.