King is in hospital … Don’t ask about his health!

Ahmed Elsheikh




If you are going to read a news story about the Saudi king’s admission to hospital to undergo a surgery you will expect answers on these questions:  


–          Is he in a critical condition?

–          Is this surgery related to the operations which he has undergone in the USA recently?

–          Will the crown prince be in charge till he recovers?

–          Is there any reaction in the Kingdome?


As expected, the Saudi state news agency was the only source for information. And to our surprise it didn’t answer any of these questions!


The agency published a 240 word story on its website titled “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Arrives at King Abdulaziz Medical City “ with only two pieces of information:

1-      The king has arrived.

2-      There is “looseness at the conjoining cord in his back”.


176 words (73%) were about names and titles of officials who were receiving the King or accompanied him to the hospital! The agency was generous enough to give us names and positions of 12 senior officials and it seems that it realised that publishing all the names will tooooooo much, so added that “other princes and the King’s sons were there”!


Both Arabic and English websites of the agency did the same, but the Arabic website ended its story with prayer to God to protect the King and help him get much better soon! The English website didn’t. Does anybody know why?


The news agency’s job – especially its English website – is to give information to non-Saudi media. So do the people in charge of the agency believe that we are interested in knowing who was accompanying the King rather than his health?


Arab media spring should come very soon!

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