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Wajdi al-Ghazzawi, Saudi Arabia, jailed since February 2014

Wajdi al-Ghazzawi, Saudi Arabia, jailed since February 2014

Article ID:

17652

Day 25
Country: Saudi Arabia
Journalist: Wajdi al-Ghazzawi
Media: TV presenter, owner of Al-Fajr Media Group
Jailed since: 4 February 2014

 

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The owner of Al-Fajr Media Group, Wajdi al-Ghazzawi, was sentenced by a criminal court in Riyadh on 4 February 2013 to 12 years in prison. His 30 day appeal was rejected, according to the Arabic news website Al-Bawaba.

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Wajdi al-Ghazzawi had launched a TV talk show in 2011 called “Al-Fadfadah” (Relaxed Conversation), which was one of the few programmes critical of Saudi Arabia’s government. But after hosting seven instalments, the station was shut down because it was deemed “liable to impact on public security.” While al-Ghazzawi maintained that his show was intended to educate Saudi citizens, the prosecution declared that those episodes – which included titles such as 'Intellectual Terrorism', 'Administrative Corruption', and 'Saudi Arabia and Terrorism' – “incited sedition” by accusing the kingdom of creating terrorism. Al-Ghazzawi was also banned from appearing in media and is unable to leave the country for 20 years.

This sentence comes as a latest threat against journalists critical of the Saudi kingdom, as it intensifies its crackdown on domestic dissent. Two other journalists from the critical news website Al-Fajr Cultural Network are also behind bars since 2012. Landing in CPJ’s list of the 10 most censored countries in the world, the Saudi kingdom heavily censors media and Internet sites, aided by restrictive and vaguely worded media laws.

The Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), reported on 10 February that 41 websites containing criticisms of the government would be closed within days by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information, on the grounds that they had not complied with legislation requiring them to be registered.

 

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#FreethePress calls for the release of Wajdi al-Ghazzawi and all journalists jailed in Saudi Arabia bit.ly/1kbViHN

 


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wm_WanIfra

Date

2014-04-28 10:20

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