Saudi media face fresh restrictions

May 1, 2011 - 0:0

Saudi Arabia has imposed new media restrictions, threatening news organizations that allegedly undermine national security, with heavy fines and closure.

Under a decree issued by Saudi King Abdullah on Friday, the media will be prohibited from reporting anything that contradicts the Islamic law or “foreign interests,” an AFP report said.
The rule also requires publishers to stick “to objective and constructive criticism that serves the general interest.”
Violators of the new decree face fines of up to 500,000 riyals -- which equals USD 133,000.
Saudi authorities can also ban a writer for life from contributing to any media organization.
The Saudi media is tightly supervised by the ruling Al Saud dynasty and most of the country's leading newspapers are owned by people who are a part of or closely linked to the government.
The new restrictions come as the Kingdom tries to prevent the spread of regional uprisings and revolutions to Saudi Arabia.
This is while, during the past months, Saudi Arabia's oil-rich east has been the scene of anti-government protests.
On Friday, Saudi Arabian riot police attacked a peaceful protest rally in the city of Qatif, injuring at least five people while attempting to disperse demonstrators by force.
The demonstrators have poured into the streets to condemn Riyadh's role in the brutal crackdown on Bahraini protesters.
They are also calling for human rights reform, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners held without trial for more than 16 years.
Human Rights Watch says more than 160 protesters have been arrested since February as part of the Saudi government's crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Among those taken into custody are two prominent anti-regime bloggers, local activists say.
According to the Saudi-based Human Rights First Society (HRFS), many detainees have been subject to torture both physically and mentally.
(Source: PressTV)