In August, the Saudi government banned the distribution and sale of the popular London-based daily Al-Hayat for four days due to coverage of sensitive issues in the paper's local edition, a source at the paper told CPJ. An Al-Hayat source told Reuters that the Information and Culture Ministry had set "conditions" for lifting the ban, but the paper refused to comply. The Associated Press reported that the ban may have been triggered by an article about a Saudi member of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and his close connection to clerics in the kingdom. The pan-Arab paper is owned by Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, the eldest son of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz.

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