Why They Censor

Abdul-Rahman al-Hazzaa, president of the newly established Saudi Radio and Television Authority, writes:

When a journalist or a program are banned, or when a newspaper is censored, then the matter must have crossed the line and reached the stage of opposing the country’s direction and its supreme interests. There are religious, national, political and social considerations that every journalist must keep before their eyes to avoid rushing into their search for fame and stardom. Someone may say: goodbye to restrictions and limits on movement as people now can use the modern tools of media and communications to fly freely, say and write whatever they want. But does that mean leaving the door wide open? The answer is: No. Concerned authorities must address anything that could harm the interests of the country and its people in any aspect of life, even if it necessitated censorship and bans. The effect of what is said and written in media is not limited to who said or wrote as it could affect others inside and outside the country, therefore every violator must be dealt with according to what achieves greater good.

The official’s defense of censorship comes few days after authorities here banned two talk shows and the host of a third one in the same week.