See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Which Lebanese and Arab Media Covered #SaudiCables and Which Ones Didn't?

The Saudi Cables: Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media

The Saudi Cables: Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media

The silence of major newspapers and media outlets towards more than half a million leaked documents from Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is deafening.

A total of 61,000 Arabic-language documents, which offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Saudi corridors of power, published by WikiLeaks, are already online.

The information dump reveal secret communications from Saudi embassies, as well as “top secret” reports from other Saudi state institutions, including the Ministry of Interior and the Kingdom's General Intelligence Services. More are set to be published in the coming weeks, according to a press release published by the whistleblowing site.

In the Saudi Cables press release, Wikileaks chose to focus on how the Saudi Kingdom controls the media, by posting an article along with a press release that explains the modus operandi of the Saudi Foreign Ministry. In an attempt to measure the Saudi control over the media, the following is a round up of how the majority of the Lebanese media outlets and a couple of international outlets with a regional presence covered the exposé.

Al-Akhbar newspaper, one of the official media partner of Wikileaks, evidently has the most active coverage of the Saudi Cables.

However, “active coverage” doesn't really apply to the majority of the Lebanese media. Journalist and professor Asad Abu Khalil tweeted to his 25K followers:

Leave us from the content of the Saudi Cables: Isn't it interesting that the Arabic media is not allowed to cover the #SaudiCables which is preoccupying the international media?

MTV Lebanon, one of the main TV stations in Lebanon (which is mentioned in the leaked document 83763 for asking $20 million but received $5 million for the Saudi government), did not publish any news on its website even though it did an extensive coverage back in 2012 and 2011 of similar leaks. MTV only tweeted once:

Bazzi in response to WikiLeaks: Let them make things up in other matters

The tweet is an article about the reply from Lebanese member of Parliament Ali Bazzi on the information published in doc 113007 that the CIA infiltrated Hezbollah via his role in the Amal movement. Future TV, also tweeted the same tweet as MTV. They reported Bazzi's response:

Bazzi in response to WikiLeaks: We don't need the testimony of anyone in reputation and history, not from WikiLeaks or anyone else

So did Janoubia News:

Hizbulla: We deny all the accusations against Bazzi which appeared in Wikileaks

This information constituted NOW Lebanon‘s only coverage of SaudiCables, which was limited to a single post on how US intelligence infiltrated Hezbollah via its ally Amal. They didn't tweet at all about the Saudi Cables, even though a Twitter search show that they also did an extensive coverage of the leaks of 2012 and 2011. Annahar also didn't cover the Saudi Cables; only one tweet was issued from its Twitter account regarding the French Cables.

On the active coverage front, LBC News, Al Jadeed TV, Al Araby Al Jadeed and OTV covered to a certain extent the Saudi Cables. The tweets and articles show a specific angle of coverage for every channel.

In WikiLeaks newest release, Saudi Arabia admits that [former Lebanese Army Commander Michel] Aoun is the most representative politician for Christians

As for regional and international media, both Al Hayat newspaper and Al Sharq Al awsat didn't have any coverage of the Saudi Cables. The two Saudi-owned outlets were the subject of a complaint by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri that was the leaked in document 118847. Al Sharq el Awsat only tweeted once warning Saudi citizens not to share any leaked documents that are published by “enemies of the Kingdom”:

The Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry cautions you not to assist the enemies of the Kingdom in publishing or circulating documents

Several Twitter users tweeted about the lack of coverage. Independent journalist Sarah El Sirgany tweeted to her 85K followers:

Lebanese writer Jamal Ghosn tweeted:

BBC Arabic tweeted once an article about the press round-up of reactions to the Saudi Cables:

Arabic newspapers cover WikiLeak's Saudi Cables

Al Mayadeen tweeted four times about the Saudi Cables, so did CNN Arabic.

Finally, the Tehran-based Al Alam International News channel is extensively covering the Saudi Cables on both Twitter and their website.

Stay tuned as our Global Voices Online team digs up more documents from the leaked cache.

Also check out our coverage on Checkdesk Global Voices, where we are tracking citizen media reactions to the Saudi Cables.

Read our special coverage: WikiLeaks Reveals the #SaudiCables

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site