Monday, August 06, 2007

Saudi censorship (growing)

The Khalid Bin Mahfouz libel rodeo is starting to bounce, at least in the blogosphere. Apart from the National Review and Mark Steyn in the OC Register, the big media boys seem to be keeping it small.

Stanley Kurtz asks the questions all this raises.

The issues at stake include freedom of speech, national sovereignty, the legal and social effects of the Internet, and the war on terror. Several questions present themselves, including: 1) Is mainstream media coverage failing as a direct or indirect outcome of the earlier suits? 2) Did the earlier suits leveled at major newspapers and magazines include specific agreements forbidding future coverage? 3) Are American libraries complying with Cambridge University Press’s letter calling for the withdrawal of Alms for Jihad from their shelves? 4) What, if any, are their legal obligations to comply? 5) Are libraries that chose not to comply in any danger? 5) Why are we not hearing anything more from the American publishing industry about the threat they are under?

He follows this with a long list of 'to dos'.

I'd just like to add a comment I found in an article published after another Mahfouz libel case had shut down Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie's book, The Forbidden Truth.

“This ruling is extremely important in the sense that it has restored our faith in the rule of law and that in the West authors are after all accountable,” said another Jeddah businessman.

Do you think he meant 'in the West just like where I come from' or 'in the West most unlike where I come from'?

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