JEDDAH: Contrary to some claims on social media, the Saudi Ministry of Media did not instruct the censoring of a magazine cover showing the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, in a sleeveless dress.
Images of the latest issue of The Economist’s 1843, a bi-monthly culture magazine — allegedly shot at a newsstand in Saudi Arabia — where Markle’s dress was blacked out with a marker-pen have been circulating on social media platforms and via WhatsApp since yesterday. The images have raised questions given that this form of censorship — which remained in place for decades — is no longer practiced in the kingdom.
For its part, Arab News visited several newsstands in both Riyadh and Jeddah and verified that this particular issue of 1843 is available and uncensored. Employees working at various bookstores and supermarkets in both cities confirmed they have not received or sold the censored version of the magazine.
“The images on social media maybe photo-shopped or if they are real, might be an individual effort by a shop keeper. But we certainly didn’t get it (the magazine) with a censored cover here,” said an employee at the Sari street branch of Jarir Bookstore in Jeddah.
Meanwhile, a source within the Saudi Ministry of Media declined to comment on the story.
“The pictures you have taken of newsstands across the kingdom showing that this particular magazine is widely available — and clearly uncensored — speak for themselves,” he told Arab News.
“People should be careful of fake news and verify facts from credible sources and professional journalists,” he added.