Closing down a highly controversial Arabic TV channel has seemingly cost Saudi Arabia’s Culture & Information Minister his job. Abdul Aziz Khoja was removed from his post earlier this week. “I have ordered the offices of Wesal channel in Riyadh closed and to ban any broadcast by it in the kingdom,” Khoja said on his Twitter account. “This is essentially not a Saudi channel,” he added in a message in Arabic.
Wesal has been frequently accused of inciting sectarian hatred. However, the channel has also been successful, and English, Farsi and Kurdish versions have launched in recent years. Wesal’s output is said to be biased against Shi’ite Muslims.
However, a statement from the Saudi royal court, and carried by the official Saudi news agency, said that Khoja had been relieved of his position and would be replaced by the minister currently responsible for the Haj pilgrimage, Bandar Bin Mohammad Hamza.