Saudi Journalist Banned After Criticizing MOI

A Saudi journalist says he has been banned from writing in a Saudi newspaper after criticizing the Interior Ministry.

Ali al-Alyani wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday that al-Watan daily has stopped him from writing after publishing his last column, entitled “first message to Mohammed bin Naif.” Prince Mohammed bin Naif is the Interior Minister.

Al-Alyani later tweeted that “there is no connection between Prince Mohammed or the Interior Ministry in the ban.” The Associated Press says al-Alyani indirectly accused the newspaper editors of being behind the ban, but they might be misreading his statement. If the editors thought the article was particularly risqué, they could have censored it before it was published. The fact that the ban came after the article was published seems to suggest this ban was prompted by a reaction to the piece and not simply an oversight by the editors.

Al-Alyani used to work for al-Watan, owned by by Prince Khaled al-Faisal, when he was still a college student back in 2001, but he is better known for his work as a television host. Last month he accepted an offer to write a bi-weekly column for the newspaper. His ban came only one month after his comeback; he has written seven articles since then. The ban, however, does not mean al-Alyani is out of work. He continues to host a daily show on Rotana Khalijia, a channel owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.