Saudis get tough over satellite TV

Saudi Arabia’s powerful Ministry of Culture & Information is reportedly creating a special team of monitors to view satellite broadcasting over the pan-Arab region and to prosecute those channels the Saudis believe are inciting “tribal passions”. The comments are believed to refer to local (that is Saudi Arabian) channels that broadcast from within the country.

Saudi sources suggest that these channels frequently violate Saudi Arabia’s conservative views. Additionally, there have been reports of video tapes being stolen from mainstream stations and then re-broadcast by newcomers.

Other stations have claimed to be licensed, which the Ministry denies. The Information Ministry’s deputy stressed to an Arab newspaper that the ministry would “not neglect to take all legal steps and measures to prosecute and punish satellite channels that operate domestically without obtaining the required licenses. It would do so on account of the materials the stations broadcast prejudicial to the national fabric or to entities, persons, families, and tribes.”

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