Saudi TV presenter banned amid criticism of Riyadh regime

Saudi TV presenter banned amid criticism of Riyadh regime
2 min read
10 December, 2018
Saudi TV presenter Ali al-Olayani was banned from hosting his own show after being too critical of the Saudi government.
Ali al-Olayani was banned from hosting his own show [al-Weeam]
Saudi Arabia has banned a journalist from hosting his own television show, after he criticised the government, local media have reported.

Presenter Ali al-Olayani, who headed TV show Maali al-Mowaten (Arabic for "Dear Citizen"), was forced out of his show for being overly critical of the Saudi government on Sunday according to one report.

He allegedly repeatedly expressed contempt for the mis-management of the country, a dangerous move in the kingdom.

The hour-long TV show aims to cover social issues that affect the everyday life of Saudi citizens, including women's rights unemployment, education, family values, poverty, medicine, religion and other affairs.

Olayani has been vocally supportive of the Saudi monarchy and condemned critics of the regime on his show. 

The ban on Olayani happened in the midst of a crackdown of freedom of speech, which has left journalists, academics, scholars and activists imprisoned, tortured and killed.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record had reached new levels of global scrutiny after the murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a contributor to US based The Washington Post, was killed shortly after entering the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

The changing narrative from the Riyadh government on what happened to Khashoggi has led to distrust amongst members of the international community, along with rights organisations.

"Saudi Arabia's consistent lies about senior officials' role in Jamal Khashoggi's murder mean that the government's denials that it tortured these women activists are not nearly good enough," said Human Rights Watch's deputy Middle East director, Michael Page last week.