(NEW YORK)—PEN America expressed concern today over statements from media regulators in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and a special committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council threatening legal action against television and film streaming services for hosting “offensive content” that “violates Islamic and societal values and principals.”

“These calls are unfortunately no surprise coming from regimes all too accustomed to censoring the stories and ideas their own citizens can access. But their attempt to inflict that censorship on a private company in another country that serves as a global platform for a diversity of stories and voices is completely unacceptable and a violation of the rights of people across the Middle East and around the world to choose what stories they want to watch and enjoy.” said Summer Lopez, PEN America’s chief program officer, Free Expression. “These calls are also a reminder that we must defend against attempts to limit the stories people can tell or access on the basis of offense or a difference in values. Such claims will inevitably be used to silence the voices of those who most struggle to be heard.”

The joint statement came from a special committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council—a regional organization including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman—and the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media on Tuesday. The statement called for the removal of “offensive content” and other material deemed “immoral.” After the statement’s release, the Saudi state-run television network Al-Ekhbariya ran segments condemning Netflix for “promoting sexual deviance” to children, in seeming reference to LGBTQ+ media available on the streaming platform. Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation echoed the demand on Wednesday, warning Netflix, Disney+, and other streaming services to remove content on its local streaming sites.