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Saudi writers publish abroad to escape censorship

20 April 2012

In a recent report published by the Saudi News network Al Arabiya News, many Saudi writers admitted that they resort to smuggling their manuscripts to be published abroad to escape censorship.

According to the statistics included in the report, Beirut receives the larger share of Saudi books published abroad, followed by Cairo; Damascus comes third.

Saudi writer Abdullah Bin Bakheet (also spelled: Abdallah bin Bakhit) was a case in point. He was quoted as saying:

“It’s true most Saudi books are published abroad, to escape from censorship. If we publish in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Information must give us permission first, after they monitor, edit and censor our works. But in Beirut, we never have to obey such rules; when we publish in Beirut, our books are not censored even when on display at the Riyadh International Book Fair.”

Amin Soliman, another Saudi writer, released a new book that tackles this issue, in which he argues that the quality of printing, marketing and distributing are the main factors involved. According to the book, publishing costs in Saudi Arabia are higher than they are in Beirut and Cairo; and books published there receive no marketing.



Sources:

Ahram Online – 18 April 2012:
Saudi writers publish in Cairo and Beirut to escape censorship
Saudi writers are accusing local publishing houses of lack of professionalism, pointing up censorship and lack of marketing

AlArabiya.net – 11 April 2012:
Saudi writers publish abroad to escape censorship
Several Saudi writers prefer to publish their work outside the kingdom, not only for international exposure but also to escape censorship at home. By Khaled Al-Shaei.

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