Saudi government bans leading Arab paper

Posted on September 10, 2007

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By SALAH NASRAWI, Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt – Saudi Arabia has indefinitely banned the distribution of a leading Arab newspaper, days after the paper disclosed that a Saudi extremist had played a key role in a violent Iraqi al-Qaida front group.

One of the kingdom’s most influential journalists immediately criticized the ban, calling it a sharp retreat from recent growing press freedoms.

It was unclear if the Iraqi article was the main impetus for the ban, or merely the culmination of several weeks of disputes, mostly on other issues, between the Al Hayat newspaper and the kingdom’s information minister.

Saudi officials are sensitive to criticism that extremists from the kingdom are making their way to Iraq to fight against the Shiite-led government there, although in recent months, top Saudi officials have acknowledged the problem. [more]

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