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Paris: RSF lodges complaint against giant poster advertising tourism in Saudi Arabia

The NGO Reporters Without Borders announced Tuesday it has seized the French justice for the withdrawal of a huge poster praising tourism in Saudi Arabia, seeing in this advertisement installed on a Parisian building one year after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a “provocation” and an “attack on human dignity”.

This poster of “342 m2”, according to RSF, is affixed on a corner building overlooking the Boulevard Haussmann, in the heart of the district of department stores in Paris. It “is part of a vast global advertising campaign to promote the country as a tourist destination,” RSF said, and received an administrative authorization (in the form of a prefectural order) on October 1.

One year after the assassination of journalist Khashoggi

Almost a year after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed and dismembered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul by agents from Riyadh, RSF believes that this advertisement shows the cynicism of Saudi Arabia, “the few cases that it makes international reactions and its contempt for fundamental freedoms, “says the association for the defense of freedom of the press.

The NGO is particularly indignant at the timing of this posting, which was launched in early October, coinciding with the anniversary of the journalist's murder on 2 October.

An attack on human dignity

“In order to obtain the withdrawal of this advertisement,” Reporters Without Borders said it filed a complaint for interim relief (an emergency procedure) before an administrative judge, asking “that the prefectural decree authorizing its display be canceled.” And this on the grounds that it constitutes “an unacceptable violation of human dignity, and therefore a serious disturbance of public order”.

RSF has organized several actions in recent weeks to demand that all the light be shed by the Saudi authorities on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and that the country (ranked 172nd out of 180 in its world ranking of freedom of the press) his serious attacks on journalists. In this context, the NGO had disposed dismembered models in front of the consulate of Saudi Arabia in France in early October.

The display of this advertising for tourism in the Saudi Kingdom had already aroused strong reactions on social networks.

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