Saudi religious channel Awtan TV has been taken off air for broadcasting racist content under a direct order from the Kingdom’s ruler King Abdullah.
The Arabic satellite channel was shut down in March for airing a program which allegedly included racist remarks against the Yam tribe in the southwestern province of Najran and for insulting Ismailism.
King Abdullah also ordered the punishment of those involved in the controversial program, called "Dialogue with the opponents," including its presenter Sabri Askar and Wahabbi clerics Mohammed Hijazi and Mohammed Abdulazziz.
''The King ordered the closure of Awtan and the punishment of all those involved in that program,” Saudi daily Sabq said.
Saudi Minister of Information Abdul Aziz Khowja accused the channel, owned by Saudi businessman Abdul Rahman Al Tayyar, of trying to “instigate a sectarian sedition” in the country.
''Its racist views caused furor in the Kingdom and sparked anger by many viewers, mainly in Najran…they accused the channel of trying to cause sectarian and racist sedition against the people of Najran,” Khowja said.