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Saudi Arabia: Concert with mixed gender audience cancelled

30 June 2015

A concert scheduled for 6 May 2015 at the major Jeddah Amasy concert hall was cancelled by authorities, according to the daily Saudi newspaper Ajel. Apparently the concert audience was planned to be of ‘mixed gender’, which incited an opposition campaign against the concert on social media. The event was …

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Saudi Arabia: Hosts film festival despite cinema ban

23 February 2015

Saudi Arabia is rolling out the red carpet on Friday for its second film festival in seven years, but the deeply conservative country has one major problem – cinemas are banned. More than 60 short films will compete for the Golden Palm Tree trophies crowning best drama, documentary and student …

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Saudi Arabia: Edicts on music wade into controversy

26 June 2014

A fatwa by a Saudi scholar banning participation in prayers led by an imam who held the view that music was not forbidden in Islam has waded into controversy. Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani last week said that music was tolerated in Islam and that people could listen to songs. However, …

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Saudi Arabia: Artists cautiously test censorship limits

3 April 2014

Saudi artists are learning to voice their frustration about the country’s most sensitive issues without coming into friction with the country’s rulers, reported Associated Press on 3 April 2014. However, the Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem – the highest-paid living Arab artist in the world – sends his works abroad because …

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Saudi Arabia: Ban of popular Islamic cartoon

26 March 2014

Saudi Arabia has officially banned the internationally popular cartoon featuring Islamic heroes, The 99. The comic book series based on characters that each personify one of the 99 qualities that the Koran attributes to God has for years been successful, particularly in the Gulf, and has received the backing of …

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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” …

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Artist Alert: December 2013 and January 2014 | Article 19

14 February 2014

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 12 February 2014: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has …

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Saudi Arabia: Palestinian poet jailed for ‘atheism and long hair’

21 January 2014

Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh is in a Saudi prison, allegedly for spreading atheism – and having long hair, Mona Kareem reported for Global Voices. Fayadh’s case is making the rounds in media and on social networks, with condemnations coming from Arab writers and artists from across the region. Some of …

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Saudi Arabia: Popular sci-fi novel banned

3 December 2013

A top selling Saudi Arabian science fiction novel has been removed from book shops across the country. On 26 November 2013 representatives from the country’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the Haya’a — raided several bookshops selling the novel ‘H W J N’ by …

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