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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif unexpectedly flies back to G7 to break diplomatic deadlock
Middle East

Saudi King Abdullah cracks down on press freedom

media King Abdullah imposes new media restrictions Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has tightened rules governing the media and threatened large fines and the closure of news organisations which allegedly undermine national security.


A decree issued on Friday states the media will be prevented from reporting anything that contradicts the strict Islamic Sharia law or serves "foreign interests and undermines national security."

Publishers will be required to stick to objective and constructive criticism and any organisation in violation of the new rule faces a maximum fine of 90,000 euros.

In addition, the authorities can also ban a writer for life from contributing to any media organisation.

The media in Saudi Arabi is tightly supervised by the government, and the most prominent newspapers are owned by people who are a part of or closely linked to the ruling Al-Saud dynasty.

The new restrictions coincide with a move by the authorities to quell any uprisings inspired by the recent popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and trouble elsewhere in the region.

Over the past week, police arrested 20 to 30 Shiites, including two bloggers, accused of taking part in demonstrations in the oil-rich Eastern Province


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