Press Freedom in KSA

RSF has released their 2007 Press Freedom Survey, and it is very clear that we are not doing well at all. Of course this is not surprising in any way, but one was hoping that things could get better. Here is what they have to say about Saudi Arabia:

The country remains one of world’s biggest enemies of press freedom. Two journalists were dismissed in 2006 for going beyond the limits set by the dominant ultra-conservative religious authorities.

The Saudi regime maintains very tight control of all news and self-censorship is pervasive. Enterprising journalists pay dearly for the slightest criticism of the authorities or the policies of “brother Arab” countries. The tame local media content means most Saudis get their news and information from foreign TV stations and the Internet. But the Qatar-based satellite station Al-Jazeera, which is banned in Saudi Arabia, was not allowed to cover the annual pilgrimage to Mecca for the fourth year running in 2006.

Journalist Fawaz Turki, of the government daily Arab News, was dismissed in April for writing about the atrocities perpetrated by Indonesia, a Muslim country, during its 1975-99 occupation of East Timor. He had previously been warned for criticising Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in print.

The regime directly censored some journalists. The culture and information ministry told journalist Kinan ben Abdallah al-Ghamidi without explanation on 30 November that he could no longer write in the government daily Al Watan. He had already been forced to resign as the paper’s editor in 2002 after reporting that US troops were using the country’s military bases.

The privately-owned daily Shams was closed for a month on 16 February and its editor, Battal Alkus, dismissed for reprinting some of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed first carried by a Danish paper in September 2005.

Unlike in China, where a blocked website is passed off as a technical problem, Saudi filters say openly that certain pages on a site have been censored by the authorities. Targets are mostly pornography, but also political opposition, Israeli publications and homosexuality.

Blogs are a problem for the censors, who tried in 2005 to completely bar access to the country’s main blog-tool, blogger.com. They gave up after a few days and now just censure blogs they object to, such as “Saudi Eve,” the diary of a young woman who discusses her love life and criticises government censorship, which was added to the blacklist in June 2006.

I’m glad that “blogs are a problem for the censors,” though, and I’m sure they will still be for a long time. (via MD)

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2 thoughts on “Press Freedom in KSA

  1. aswrwb,

    ya akhi your blog is preety interesting, however even if i am an opponent to each government of this world, I do approve the fact that the saudi governement blocked the access to pornography also to some blogs such as the one of this saudi eve. I don’t see why she needs to expose her “love life” in public, it will just encourage others to think dirty and push them to do the same than what she does and for the moment that’s really what we don’t need knowing some others are handling this job… about this journalist who published the cartoons, yes i agree with the tagheeh alias the “king saud”, this reporter never had to publish them. Why did he??? because akhi if that is what you call a freedom of expression, i call that fasaad and that’s what make of our societies some bad ones. The people is not that innocent now i do realize that! but still i maintain that the saudi “kingdom” astaghferAllah (there is only One Kingdom, the One of Allah) is a taghee one like the others… being called a king, a president and abiding by unislamic law is enough to be out of the fold of Islam. We are all ruled by non muslims, it’s so pathetic.
    anyways I am not gonna finish if I carry on, so betta stop here inshaAllah…
    Akhi remember Allah, these people are not worth to stand up for… Fear Allah only and you will get the success.

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