Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

10 Most Censored Countries - Saudi Arabia

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 2 May 2012
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, 10 Most Censored Countries - Saudi Arabia, 2 May 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/502cb017c.html [accessed 1 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

8. Saudi Arabia

Leadership: King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who succeeded his half-brother, King Fahd, in 2005

How Censorship Works: The Saudi kingdom's media law is highly restrictive and vaguely worded, with penalties severe and arbitrary. Authorities have the right to appoint and fire senior editors in traditional media at will; after the emergence of a vibrant, unregulated online news sector, they introduced similar restrictions on the Internet. Regulations require government registration and approval of editors for any organization or individual conducting "electronic journalism" or "displaying audio and visual material" on websites, while criteria for approval are vaguely defined. No foreign or local journalists are granted access to the Eastern Province, where protesters have been calling for political reforms and greater rights for the Shiite minority since February 2011. Local news websites that have reported on the unrest have been shut down and their editors arrested. Foreign news about events outside Saudi Arabia is available, but international news outlets operating inside its borders limit their reporting in order to maintain accreditation.

Lowlights: Saudi authorities expelled Riyadh-based Reuters correspondent Ulf Laessing in March 2011, angered by his coverage of political unrest. Laessing wrote: "State security agents knocked at dawn at my hotel room after I had covered Shiite protests in the Eastern Province. A week later, the government withdrew my accreditation."

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