Your Royal Highness:
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned about reports that Saudi journalist Fares bin Hizam, formerly with the daily newspapers Al-Watan and Asharq al-Awsat, has been detained by Saudi authorities.
According to press reports and CPJ sources in Saudi Arabia, Bin Hizam was arrested last Wednesday by Saudi authorities in the city of Dammam. Details of the circumstances or reasons for the arrest were not available.
According to Saudi journalists, Bin Hizam had been fired from several Saudi newspapers under pressure from Saudi authorities. Last month, the Information Ministry issued a directive to Saudi newspapers not to publish his work, these sources said.
As an independent organization of journalists dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, CPJ fears that Bin Hizam may have been detained in response to his journalistic work. We respectfully request information from the Saudi authorities on Fares Bin Hizam's whereabouts, and if he is in official custody, the reason for his detention.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We await your response.
Ann K. Cooper