Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, speaking to The Atlantic in a wide-ranging interview, said that anyone in the kingdom could write whatever they wanted to write and speak about whatever they want to speak about except for three red lines.
The crown prince’s statements on the red lines came toward the end of his interview with The Atlantic’s Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg published on Monday, were Islam, personal attacks and national security.
“There is a different standard of freedom of speech. In Saudi Arabia we have just three lines—anyone can write whatever they want to write, speak about whatever they want to speak about, but they shouldn’t reach these three lines. This is not based on the interest of the government, but on the interest of the people. Line one is Islam. You cannot defame Islam. Line two—in America, you can attack a person and his company or a minister and his ministry. In Saudi Arabia it’s okay to attack a ministry or a company, but the culture of the Saudis, they don’t like to attack a person, and they like to leave the personal issue out of it. This is part of the Saudi culture,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was quoted as saying.
“The third line is national security. We are in an area not surrounded by Mexico, Canada, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We have ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hamas and Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, and even pirates. We have pirates that hijack ships. So anything that touches the national security, we cannot risk in Saudi Arabia. We don’t want to see things that happen in Iraq happening in Saudi Arabia. But other than that, people have the freedom to do whatever they want to do. For example, we didn’t block Twitter. Or access to social media. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat. Name it, it’s open for all Saudis. We have the highest percentage of people around the world using social media. In Iran they block social media and in other countries they block social media. Saudis have free access to whatever media around the world,” he said.
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