Saudi Arabia: 420 books banned at Riyadh International Book Fair

18 March 2014

Saudi authorities have banned 420 books, including works by renowned Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish, as part of a crackdown on publications deemed threatening to the conservative kingdom.


The local Okaz daily reported Sunday that organisers at the Riyadh International Book Fair had confiscated “more than 10,000 copies of 420 books” during the exhibition.

A few days after the fair opened on 4 March 2014, Saudi authorities closed the stall of the Arab Network for Research and Publishing headed by Islamist publisher Nawaf al-Qudaimi and confiscated all his publications, citing threats to the kingdom’s security.

Activist Aziza Yousef said the crackdown had offered “free advertising to those whose books were banned” as many “rushed to download these works from the Internet.”

» Research and Information Network | Agence France-Presse – 16 March 2014:
Saudi Arabia bans 420 books at Riyadh International Book Fair in wide-ranging crackdown

» Ahram Online | Agence France-Presse – 16 March 2014:
Saudi bans books at fair in wide-ranging crackdown

» The Guardian – 15 March 2014:
Saudi book fair bans ‘blasphemous’ Mahmoud Darwish works after protest
Removal of books by revered Palestinian poet from Riyadh publishing event is condemned by PEN as censorship

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