Saudi Arabia to shut down 41 news sites

Photo: Saudi Arabia to shut down 41 news sites / Arab World

Saudi Arabia is to shut down 41 news sites after they failed to regularise their status, local reports said, Gulf News reported.

"The measure is in accordance with the statute of online publishing, including Paragraph 9 of Article 19 that stipulates that all online sites needed to formalise their situation within six months," Dr Abdul Aziz Al Aqeel, the head of local media at the culture and information ministry, said, quoted by Sabq news site.

The six-month grace period had been extended several times to give the sites more time to be in line with the law before the application of the rules, he added.

"The 41 news sites will be the first to be shut down within days while the review of all the other electronic publications will continue to ensure full compliance with the laws and regulations," he said.

Ministry officials earlier this week said that news sites that promote extremist or fanatical ideas would be banned.

They said that Saudi Arabia has more than 2,000 sites that disseminate news.

However, only 600 have been licensed by the ministry while more than 1,400 online news sites have not applied for a licence.

The ministry has given licences to more 1,138 blogs, news sites and online magazines, the officials said, according to the Makkah news site.

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