Magazine article New Internationalist

Saudi Arabia - Making Friends, Making Enemies

Magazine article New Internationalist

Saudi Arabia - Making Friends, Making Enemies

Article excerpt

newint.org

The saudi regime won't like this magazine. Nor will the Western governments who kowtow to it while exploiting its wealth and paranoia - which have been on full show recently.

The Saudi justice ministry threatened to sue a Twitter user who compared the regime with ISIS after poet Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death 'for spreading atheism and disrespecting the prophet'. This was met with an international #SueMeSaudi campaign.

Humour is a good response to absurd displays of power. But in the kingdom itself, there is little place for it. There is no media independence; it is effectively controlled by the royal family. It's illegal to speak to foreign journalists without authorization and what you say could easily land you in jail.

Less easy to control is social media, which has a tremendous take-up in Saudi Arabia but is also not without risks. …

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