Arab News website cracks me up

First, there’s this story:

And after that scary example of how unfree Saudi Arabia seems to be, there is also this chastisement of the U.S.:

And that’s followed by a few other people getting similarly chastised in unfortunate ways for criticizing Bush.


It’s still not illegal to criticize Bush in the U.S. (despite the examples given). It apparently is illegal to criticize Saudi policy. So which of these two countries is editorialized against? The U.S.

Is it just that nobody expects the Arab countries to have any freedom? That they think there’s a level of disingenuity going on in “The land of the free”? As if saying, “See, the U.S. is almost as bad as we are!”

Even if so, doesn’t this resemble one piece of cookware blaming another for a certain coloration shared by both?

From a quick read, there’s a bit of a difference between the two.

The first story relates to a law forbidding government employees (civilian and military) criticizing government policies. Pretty standard fare if you ask me. Government employees here are also obliged (whether or not by law, I’m not sure) to promote government policy.

I’m quite sure that if I were to go on TV or to a newspaper and critcise my company, I’d be out the door in a heartbeat.

The other story talks about everyday citizens/artists being retaliated against by institutions, other than government, for their political stances.

Apples and oranges, if you ask me.

Arab news is known as the “Green Truth” around here and generally prints the “truth as we would like it to be.” Anything bad happening in Western countries is sure to get big play, with emphasis on immorality, drugs, murders, etc. There is a big element of “See, those westerners are all degenerates!”
The newspapers are in a tight spot though. Saudi society is theoretically based on Islam and criticism of societal problems is somewhat of a criticism of Islam as well, something that could get a man jailed if he was lucky. Other people have been punished severely for doubting the state religion.
To be fair, Arab News and the rest are enormously more forthcoming than they used to be. They tackled the problem of wife abuse recently, something that is prevalent here. It isn’t that no one knew about this, but as long as the problem was decently hushed up then everyone could pretend that it didn’t happen.
Saudi has all the problems of any other country, drug abuse, sexual crimes, corruption (very popular!), and many other social evils. They usually succeed in hushing it up though, “face” is everything and if something can’t be absolutely proved then it is assumed to have never happened.



Yep. What, you expected objective reporting?