Saudi academic arrested after calling for 'Zionist media' boycott

Saudi academic arrested after calling for 'Zionist media' boycott
2 min read
06 June, 2016
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have taken in a popular online academic for questioning on the first day of Ramadan.
Bin Rashid has long led an online campaign against Saudi-owned MBC [YouTube]

A highly prominent and controversial Saudi media academic was arrested by authorities in Mecca early on Monday.

Sources have told The New Arab that this was on the back a case brought against him by pan-Arab news channel al-Arabiya, which has long been a subject of his widely followed online campaign.

The arrest of Ahmad bin Rashid bin Saeed al-Tamimi, known by his Twitter handle @loveliberty, is the latest in a spate of arrests of outspoken and prominent figures with massive followings on social media.

The professor of political communication has long been a critic of the MBC media empire and its news channel al-Arabiya, shooting to fame after his highly successful online campaign #DeconstructingZionistNarratives managed to garner a huge pan-Arab following and hundreds of thousands of engagements.

In his latest outburst on Sunday, Bin Rashid called for a boycott of MBC and other "Zionist propaganda mouthpieces" in a series of tweets directed at the channel's chairman Waleed Al Ibrahim.

Translation: "Your enemy is not a single person, but rather all Saudis and even the entire Arab world. You cannot escape the wrath of God and the vengeance of history."

Translation: "Do we have the courage to at least boycott the disgraceful Zionist media such as MBC and Rotana during Ramadan to cleanse ourselves of their evil and get back at them."

Saudi authorities have yet to confirm news of the arrest.

The Arabic-language hashtag #WeAreAllBinRashid has gained traction on Twitter shortly after he was reportedly arrested.

Bin Rashid has amassed a cult-like following in Saudi Arabia and many other countries. His high-profile led to a famous Saudi Ramadan comedy series making a sketch about him in 2013.

Although Saudi Arabia and Israel have no official diplomatic relations, it has recently widely been reported that officials from both countries have held a series of secret meetings despite the kingdom's public position of hostility towards Israel.

In March, authorities arrested Saudi academic Mohammad al-Hudhaif at Riyadh airport on his way back from Turkey after he criticised the United Arab Emirates on Twitter.