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Saudi media opening up says newspaper boss

Dubai, December 5, 2011

Saudi Arabia's media environment is growing more open despite changes to press laws that have been criticised as restrictive by international rights groups, the prince who runs a leading pro-reform Saudi newspaper said.

'The laws with respect to media have been in evolution for the past 40-odd years and just in the 10 years that I've been involved in this industry I've seen it move forward tremendously,' Prince Bandar bin Khaled Al-Faisal, who is chairman of the daily Al-Watan newspaper, said.

Al-Watan is seen by analysts as being towards the progressive end of the kingdom's media spectrum, featuring editorials that broadly support economic and social reforms pushed by King Abdullah and sometimes challenge conservative thinking.

Prince Bandar, a son of the governor of Makkah Province and a great-nephew of King Abdullah, said he believed there was no campaign under way to clamp down on media.

'What you need to focus on is what is approved and what is implemented. And if you look at the track record over the past four or so decades, every single (change) that comes in has been a refinement in my point of view that has been positive,' he told Reuters in Dubai.

'I have no reason to suspect it would go in any other direction and, honestly, you can't take it in any other direction.'  -Reuters




Tags: press | Saudi | media | King abdullah | Prince Bandar |

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