Riyadh: A female Saudi journalist has decided to discontinue working with the Lebanese TV channel LBC for which she coordinated a chat show that ignited a controversy over a man's talk about his sexual activities.
"I also reject outright offers from some global TV channels and human rights organisations that they would take up my case outside the Kingdom," Rozana Al Yami, 22, told Gulf News after King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz on Monday ordered to waive a sentence of 60 lashes handed down to her by a Jeddah court.
"I was extremely happy and could not stop crying when I heard the news of the royal pardon.
"Immediately I prostrated myself in worship to thank Allah, the Almighty," she said while expressing her deep gratitude to King Abdullah.
Rozana told Gulf News: "I regard this humanitarian gesture as a personal victory awarded to me by the monarch. This is a great honour for me as a young Saudi media person. It is also a reply to all those who cast doubts on my patriotism and love for nation. I did nothing harmful to my country.
"I used to do my duties [as a journalist]. I was not responsible for the final product, for which the presenter and director of the programme had to be accountable," she said.
Rozana disclosed that she received numerous calls — their numbers exceeding more than 100 on some days — over the past few days expressing solidarity with her on the issue.
These calls also included those from global TV channels and human rights organisations expressing their readiness to take up her case outside the Kingdom. "I rejected outright all such offers, with a firm conviction that all these were part of attempts and machinations to do harm and hurt my beloved country," she said.
Rozana also disclosed that she has no plans to sue anybody with regard to the case as she sees the royal pardon as the best reply for them.
She also did not conceal her disappointment with LBC's handling of the issue. "The channel did nothing to defend me, and never uttered a single word for my sake," she said while announcing her decision to stop working with the channel.
According to reports, the Minister of Culture and Information, Dr Abdul Aziz Khoja, earlier briefed King Abdullah of the issue involving two female journalists. The minister told the King that the matter could be examined by the specialised permanent committee under the ministry for addressing media-related matters. This eventually resulted in the royal directive to transfer the cases to the ministry, according to the sources.
In his order to waive the sentence of lashes, King Abdullah also directed the transfer of the cases against Rozana and another journalist Eman Rajab to the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Eman, who failed to appear in court in earlier sittings, submitted an explanation that she was ill with pregnancy-related problems. She has been working as a broadcaster with the Saudi TV channel 1 since 2002.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Al Fuhaid, a Saudi columnist, noted that it is disgraceful on the part of LBC to have remained silent about its controversial programme, which triggered much outrage.
"All those responsible for telecasting the controversial ugly programme escaped and were watching in cool what were befalling on the victims of the programme," he said while calling the act as a "shameful flight from justice".
Eman was the presenter of several popular programmes. She also worked as a correspondent of LBC in Riyadh.
Rozana Al Yami, 22, was working on part-time basis with the Lebanese TV channel LBC. She also worked for the popular Sayyidati weekly magazine as well as for Rua magazine and Al Madinah daily.
She had been charged with involvement as coordinator in the preparation of the controversial LBC programme Bold Red Line in which Saudi man Mazen Abdul Jawad boasted about sexual exploits in July.
Abdul Jawad was convicted of offensive behaviour and sentenced to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes earlier this month by a Jeddah court.