06 September 2015

Saudi Arabia Bans National Geographic Issue Featuring Pope Francis “For Cultural Reasons”

National Geographic‘s August issue, normally translated into Arabic for a Saudi Arabian audience, hasn’t been published in the country. No official statement was given, except for this tweet from the chief editor on the magazine’s Twitter account:

It says: "Dear readers in Saudi Arabia, we apologize for you not obtaining August’s magazine. According to the publishing company, the magazine was denied entry for cultural reasons. Chief Editor"

Check out the cover and you can take a guess what those “cultural reasons” are:

Saudi authorities believe that it’s best to not let its citizens even know about Pope Francis or what he’s doing. As the secular activist Kacem El Ghazzali recently put it (following the release of a preacher who raped and killed his 5-year-old daughter, while Raif Badawi, the liberal freethinker, is still imprisoned):

“This is Saudi Arabia: the only member state of the UN not to have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a state with ZERO minorities rights, ZERO women rights, ZERO human rights ZERO freedom and a lot of oppression and barbaric suppression of dissent!” [Patheos] Read more