Legal Environment Article 39 of the 1992 Basic Law, which covers mass media, does not guarantee freedom of the press, and the authorities are given broad powers to prevent any act that may lead to disunity or sedition.The Basic Law also prohibits publishing materials that harm national security or that “detract from a man’s dignity.” Defamation is a criminal offense, and truth is not a recognized defense in such cases.Saudi Arabia has one of the most repressive media environments in the world.The authorities bolstered their efforts to control news and information in 2014 with the passage of expansive antiterrorism legislation and further arrests of regime critics.If there are fewer than four witnesses, or if one of them is not upstanding, they are all to be chastised with 80 lashes for slander.
Saudi Arabia has no criminal code as traditionally the legal system of Saudi Arabia has consisted of royal decrees and the legal opinions of Muslim judges and clerics, and not legal codes/written law.
Adding to the confusion, the State Department held a briefing May 30 in which Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, said the commercial agreements amounted to just billion.
That was much lower than the White House’s 0 billion figure.
Given the Trump administration’s proclivity for exaggeration, we were especially skeptical of the numbers tossed around after the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia.
During Trump’s trip, reporters traveling with the White House repeatedly pleaded for details of the agreements.