News

May 6, 2009 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Government pressure on TV programme considered too liberal


Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the Saudi pro-government daily Al Watan’s attempts to interfere in the programming of MBC.
Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the Saudi pro-government daily Al Watan’s attempts to interfere in the programming of MBC, a privately-owned pan-Arab satellite TV station based in Dubai. A recent column in the newspaper called one of MBC’s programmes “contrary to society’s customs.” “This quarrel between news media reflects strong pressure from the government, which does not tolerate news media broaching subjects that are considered too daring for Saudi society,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Al Watan’s meddling opens the way for widespread press freedom violations in Saudi Arabia. The media need to be protected and encouraged to tackle a wide range of subjects that open up to the world.” MBC presenter Lajine Amrane spoke about problems linked to adolescent sexuality in one of her recent “Good morning, Arabs!” programmes. Al Watan deputy editor Abdallah El-Kabie called the broadcast “contrary to society’s customs” in an editorial on 15 April. “It encourages adolescents to be insolent and violate social customs,” he told Reporters Without Borders. Amrane described his comments as a “violation of freedom of expression” and called for an apology from Al Watan and its staff. Broadcast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day except Thursday and Friday, “Good morning, Arabs!” is targeted above all at women and tackles a wide range of subjects including health, fashion and beauty.