A Saudi Arabian court sentenced a female journalist to 60 lashes because she worked for a television station that aired the sexual confessions of a Saudi man, she and her attorney said today.
The Reuters news agency said the woman, who requested only her first name used, was unaware her Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. did not have proper authorization to operate in the Islamic kingdom. "The verdict was just because I cooperated with LBC," Rosana, 22, the female journalist, told Reuters.
By Western standards, the verdict is outrageous if the story is true. Reuters said the LBC is popular in Saudi Arabia because the station airs popular Western customs in one of the world's most religiously conservative nations.
"I was not aware (that LBC was unlicensed) but in the end this is the verdict and I accept it. I don't want to appeal," Rosana said. The court could not be reached, while a spokesman for the information ministry in Riyadh declined to comment.
"This is the first case in which a journalist was tried at a court of summary jurisdiction for an offense relating to the nature of his or her profession," said Sulaiman al-Jumaie, a lawyer who defended Abdul-Jawad, who told of his pre-marital sexual exploits on LBC in August and was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and five years in jail.
The Reuters story concludes:
Judges, who are clerics of Saudi Arabia's strict Wahhabi school of Islam, have wide powers of discretion and can issue sentences according to their interpretation of Islamic law, which critics said has led to some arbitrary rulings.
The questions I have is if LBC is broadcast regularly in the Saudi kingdom, are the clerics looking the other way until sexually-sensitive material is aired? Was Rosana the only female working for LBC?
By contrast, NBC recently concluded a series on gains women have made in the U.S. workplace hosted and edited by Maria Shriver. Makes me wonder what Rosana would have to say about that.
We are a faithful, obedient ally of the Saudis because we worship their oil which keeps us in line just as the Wahhabi clerics keep imagined infidels like Rosana under foot.