Saudi media—among others—remains a target for those who seek to prohibit blasphemy, according to this Arab News story. It reports that Al-Arabiya TV (owned by the same conglomerate that owns Arab News and Asharq Alawsat) is being sued for broadcasting something that someone found to be blasphemous. In typically opaque reporting, the story conveys some information but not nearly enough to figure out just what offended whom. Perhaps the paper is concerned that reporting anything specific would lead to legal complaints about its own story. That is perhaps logical, but it demonstrates how severely blasphemy laws chill freedom of expression and of the press.
The story also carries further information on the case of Rozanna al-Yami, the female journalist who was sentenced to lashings and then pardoned by the King. Apparently, she at one time claimed to not be a journalist, so the court felt free to impose its sentence. Frankly, if someone is working for a media enterprise, they should be considered a journalist for nearly all purposes, in my opinion.
Al Arabiya TV sued for ‘blasphemy’
Muhammad Humaidan I Arab News
JEDDAH: A case has been filed against the popular news channel, Al Arabiya, at the summary court in Jeddah for allegedly making fun of Islam, said Muhammad Mirdad, a judge at the court.
Mirdad said Abdullah Al-Othaim, the chief judge at the court, had received the case, which has been lodged by a group of citizens. The court then transferred the case to the justice minister in order for him to pass it on to the Ministry of Culture and Information.
The litigants have also presented evidence in the form of pictures and audio recording to support their case. They allege the channel has ridiculed God, the Last Prophet (peace be upon him), Angel Gabriel and the Sayings of the Prophet.