2006 News Story

King Abdullah misquoted over ban on women’s photos

Reports that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz warned the Saudi media against publishing photos of women are incorrect, the Arab News reported yesterday.

King Abdullah was misquoted following his May 15 address to the Gulf Press Federation’s second General Assembly in Riyadh. In his remarks, he said that the publication of provocative pictures of women was not in keeping with the Kingdom's way of life.

The king said, “There are photographs published in some newspapers ... and one needs to think if one would want one's daughter, sister or wife to appear like that. Of course, no one would,” as quoted in the Arab News.

King Abdullah was referring to pictures that are used for the sake of sensationalism. At no point during address did the king warn the Saudi media against publishing pictures of Saudi women, as was reported. The wire agencies completely misinterpreted and misrepresented the King's comment.

A senior official at the Ministry of Culture and Information also denied reports that the king had banned publication of photos of women. “King Abdullah has not issued any royal decree against the publication of women's pictures in Saudi media,” the official told Arab News. The official, who was present at King Abdullah’s address, said: “The King was referring to indecent pictures in general and not women's pictures in particular. He didn't allude to women at all.”

An editor from the Gulf who also attended the meeting said that King Abdullah was misquoted. “This is exactly what the king was advising against – sensationalism,” he told the Arab News.