People attend a symbolic funeral prayer for Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the courtyard of Fatih mosque in Istanbul, Turkey November 16, 2018People attend a symbolic funeral prayer for Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the courtyard of Fatih mosque in Istanbul, Turkey November 16, 2018 (Reuters)

The event, which will take place on December 19, almost three months after Khashoggi’s killing, comes following the Council of Arab Information Ministers’ decision to choose Riyadh as the Arab Media Capital last May, according to a statement by the Media and Communication sector of the Arab League.

….For years the Saudi Arabian government has been accused of human rights violations, including imprisoning human rights defenders and silencing its critics. However, human rights organisations have been increasingly expressing their concerns since the crown prince’s takeover in 2015, saying that the limited freedom of expression under his father King Salman has been completely shut down. Three Saudi princes living in the Europe, all critics of the Saudi government, disappeared between 2015 and 2017.  Human Rights Watch reported in May 2018 that the kingdom arbitrarily detained thousands more people in a six-month period, without referring them to courts for criminal proceedings.

“[MBS] wants to control the whole scene: He’s a transformer, he wants to have a monopoly on the narrative, on the ideas that are being exchanged in Saudi Arabia. And right now he does have total control,” Khashoggi was quoted as saying in March 2018, in an article by the Columbia Journalism Review.  “The American media should not see the cup half full—see only the reform. Yes, he’s fulfilling a promise to purge radicalism in Saudi Arabia. At the same time however, he’s not allowing any form of expression, except expression that supports him,” he said.  [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/10/19/novak-djokovic-and-rafael-nadal-have-a-chance-to-score-a-point-for-human-rights-defenders/]

https://www.trtworld.com/mea/arab-league-to-celebrate-riyadh-as-capital-of-media-amid-growing-pressure-22560