Mohamed Bin Salman
As international criticism to the human rights file in Saudi Arabia which targets human rights defenders; the Saudi authorities, under the leadership of Mohamed bin Salman, sought to limit these criticisms by bribing large media institutions.
On Thursday, September 10, 2020, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, revealed in an interview with the CNN News that Saudi Arabia has allowed the screening of clips of homosexuality and pornography and sex education in Saudi Arabia in exchange for deleting an episode criticizing Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman for supervising the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
With his money and influence in Hollywood, the Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman attempted to stop the screening of the movie “The Defector”, directed by Brian Vogel, which was about the life of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Despite bin Salman’s desperate attempts and spending billions of dollars to stop the various criticisms, all his attempts failed, as the episode removed from Netflix, was available on YouTube with much wider audiences, and Director Brian Vogel has managed to find an independent distributor to view his movie in a number of US cinemas, after eight months of trying to find a one in Hollywood.
Vogel, whose film included details of Mohamed Bin Salman’s role in killing Khashoggy, said during an interview with a newspaper that International media companies no longer think of how the American public would react to the movie, they rather they ask themselves: What if the film was screened in Egypt, China, Pakistan, India? All these factors play a role and stop similar stories from taking place.
Despite Bin Salman’s attempts, the film was screened in 150-200 cinemas on Christmas Day, and will be available online on January 8th. It was scheduled to be screened in 800 cinemas in October but due to the spread of Coronavirus pandemic the number was reduced. The film will also be displayed through distributors of live broadcasting networks on the Internet in Britain, Turkey, Italy and the rest of European countries.
Vogel interacted with humanity and his movie carried a message of defending human rights despite all pressures. He met with Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz, who waited in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where the journalist was killed and chopped off. He also met the CEO and publisher of the “Washington Post” Fred Ryan and a number of officials in the Turkish police, in addition to writing down the recording of the events that took place in the room in which Khashoggi was killed, and which was 37 pages long. He also met the Saudi dissident Omar Abdel Aziz, who had previously worked with Khashoggi.
The Saudi regime’s attack and attempt to undermine the movie has been in its favor, as it became widely celebrated. In an interview, Hillary Clinton encouraged viewers to attend the film, and the Hollywood Reporter magazine described it as “strong, deep and comprehensive.”. Virity magazine also described it as “an amazing documentary”.
Together for Justice affirms that the efforts of influential directors, activists and journalists in various countries of the world to stand against the crimes of the Saudi regime brings us hope, given the global companies, institutions and influential countries’ submission to Saudi money.
The organisation calls all activists, authors, media professionals, directors and influential actors to defend the rights of oppressed groups under tyrannical regimes.