Popular Show About Taboos in Saudi Arabia—That Airs In Saudi Arabia—May Have Gone Too Far; Man Bragging About His Sex Life on TV Gets Channel Shut Down and Himself Arrested

Aug 10, 2009  •  Post A Comment

A man who was shown on TV bragging about his sex life violated media policy and thus the station that showed the footage was taken off the air. Furthermore, the man has been arrested and some are calling for the death penalty.

It happened to the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, which has a station in Saudi Arabia, according to CNN.

"The episode caused an uproar in deeply conservative Saudi Arabia, where Sharia law, or strict Islamic law, is practiced. Pre-marital sex is illegal, and unrelated men and women are not permitted to mingle," CNN reported.

A spokesman for the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Culture and Information told CNN that the footage involved "a 32-year-old airline employee and divorced father of four who spoke openly about his sexual escapades, his love of sex and losing his virginity at age 14."

The man’s name is Mazen Abdul Jawad, and in a separate piece, a blog by CNN Senior Editor Octavia Nasr, she talks in detail about the TV series, "A Thick Red Line," which broadcast Jawad’s remarks, and about how bragging about one’s sexual exploits could get certain people in Saudi Arabia so inflamed.

In another blog, Ahmed Al-Omran from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia wrote:.

"In a conservative society like Saudi Arabia, this guy should have expected to get aggressive reactions when talking publicly about his sex life. People here are not used to such declarations. They were in shock and did not understand why he did it since he must have known the consequences. Many consider him stupid – some even said that he should be sued for stupidity rather than debauchery! Others believe that he was tricked by the LBC into saying things and that the show is into sensationalising news and does not have a good reputation in the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Besides, Saudis do get defensive when outsiders criticise their society.

"I was surprised that so many people acted on it and submitted complaints. Legally, I guess that their complaints do not stand in court. But if the public prosecutor decides to sue him, then it’s a different story.

"People here think that you can do whatever you want as long as you keep it private. This is hypocritical but it is prevalent in Saudi society. However, the country is changing and mentalities are too. The pace of change is slow and many, like me, are frustrated to see things evolving so slowly on the social and political levels but I think it’s not hopeless, and I hope that in 40 years we won’t be struggling with the same issues."

Jawad, the person doing the bragging on the tape, says that it was his understanding that his face would be blurred so no one would know who was making the remarks. 

Though the footage is not particularly physically graphic, the nature of the conversation is something many U.S. TV outlets would likely think twice about airing, and certainly without a warning that part of the conversation is explicit, is not recommeded for kids and might make some viewers uncomfortable.

–Chuck Ross


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