Contrary to social media claims, Meghan Markle magazine cover was NOT censored in Saudi Arabia

A combination photo shows the alleged blacked-out magazine cover of the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle which some social media users suggested was in saudi newsstands (left) against a picture taken yesterday by Arab News photographer showing showing that the magazine is available and uncensored across the kingdom. (Arab News)
Updated 13 July 2018

Contrary to social media claims, Meghan Markle magazine cover was NOT censored in Saudi Arabia

  • Arab News visits newsstands across the kingdom, verify current issue of The Economist’s 1843 is widely available and uncensored

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.

 


Turkish court upholds verdict against 12 ex-staff of opposition newspaper

Updated 21 November 2019

Turkish court upholds verdict against 12 ex-staff of opposition newspaper

  • 14 employees of Cumhuriyet were sentenced in April 2018 to various jail terms on terrorism charges
  • The case drew global outrage over press freedom under President Tayyip Erdogan

ISTANBUL: A Turkish court on Thursday upheld its conviction of 12 former employees of the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper despite a higher court ruling, a lawyer for the newspaper said.
The court acquitted a 13th defendant, journalist Kadri Gursel, due to a ruling by the Constitutional Court, Turkey’s highest, said the lawyer, Tora Pekin.
In a case that drew global outrage over press freedom under President Tayyip Erdogan, 14 employees of Cumhuriyet — one of the few remaining voices critical of the government — were sentenced in April 2018 to various jail terms on terrorism charges.
They were accused of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front militant groups, as well as the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says organized a 2016 failed coup. Gulen denies any involvement.
The Cumhuriyet staff have been in and out of jail for the duration of their trials. The 14th defendant, Cumhuriyet accountant Emre Iper, was released last month and his case is still under court review.
The Court of Cassation, Turkey’s high court of appeals, had ruled in September for the 13 defendants to be acquitted, with the exception of journalist and politician Ahmet Sik. The court said Sik should be tried for a different crime.
The case of the 12 defendants will now be re-evaluated by the Court of Cassation, Pekin said.
“With the Court of Cassation ruling (in September), we thought this endless arbitrariness and injustice were ending. But we understood in court today that it wasn’t so,” said Pekin.
Since the failed coup, authorities have jailed 77,000 people pending trial, while 150,000, including civil servants, judges, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs. Some 150 media outlets have also been closed.
A global press watchdog said on Tuesday more than 120 journalists were still being held in Turkey’s jails, a global record.
Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concern over the scale of the crackdown. Rights groups accuse Erdogan of using the coup as a pretext to quash dissent.