Thursday, August 30, 2007

Saudi Arabia continues ban on newspaper

by Andrew England from The Financial Times

There are “red lines” the press does not cross, including criticism of the royal family and religious issues, and self censorship is common. Many had hoped that after King Abdullah succeeded his brother two years ago there would be an increase in reform in the kingdom. Iyad Madani, the information minister has been considered by some as one of the more modernising cabinet members. However, reformers have criticised the pace of change and alluded to a struggle within the royal family, liberals and conservatives over the need for reform. “Now there is some pressure to narrow the margins of freedom,” said one advocate of reform. Al-Hayat is owned by Prince Khaled bin Sultan, the deputy defence minister and son of Crown Prince Sultan. The al-Hayat source said Prince Khaled bin Sultan was insisting that the paper is independent and should be able to write freely.

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