Saudi clerics seek media policy change
Riyadh, March 23, 2009
A group of hardline Saudi clerics have called on the Islamic state's new minister of information to halt efforts to liberalise the media by taking Saudi women off state television.
In a statement posted on Saudi websites, the 35 clerics including leading independent Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak argued that the Saudi government was violating its own rules on religion and morals.
"(Saudi laws) prohibit showing women dancing, singing, or making news broadcasts whether in Arabic or in a foreign language and ban any Saudi woman from appearing on television under all circumstances," said the statement posted on websites, citing previous cabinet decrees.
Abdulaziz Khoja was appointed Minister of Culture and Information last month, replacing Iyad Madani who conservatives despised for loosening the controls by putting women on Saudi television and showing Western films.
"We place hope in you to implement a reform of media for the sake of God after deviance took root in the ministry, television, radio and press," the statement said, addressing Khoja, who is also seen as liberal. - Reuters