(The memo, source: the Angry Arab News Service)
After a poor Saudi announced that he plans to sell his son to lift himself in poverty in the oil rich state, the government issued a memorandum for a blackout on poverty. Hear no evil, see no evil. The justification is that such news distorts the reputation of Saudi society (not the government, only the society).
The memo above, by the Ministry of Culture and Media, states that "some local media outlets, including local newspapers, reported on the case of Saud ben Nasser al-Shihri who put his son for sale to provide a better life for his mother and sister. What was published distorts the reputation of Saudi society, and disobeys our previous instructions in memo number 5028, dated 19/5/1429 (Hijra Calender), which required not reporting on begging cases, except under certain restrictions".
Following the wide reporting of the poor Saudi citizen's case, a Saudi Director produced a short film on a Saudi family living in a graveyard. The Arab Digest tried to get in touch to arrange an interview, but to no avail; his last post on his Facebook page, stated that a princess called to help the Saudi family move out to a proper home.
But an activists who published a video on poverty had been arrested.
Saudi Arabia's government is highly sensitive to all news on its poor population, as it is unjustifiable for such a rich country to sustain such poverty rates, around one quarter of the total population. The religious establishment plays a crucial role in keeping dissent at bay through its strong and historical alliance with the royal family.