When Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the U.K. for three days in March, the Saudi government ran a 1-minute commercial on British cable TV promoting the kingdom's reform agenda, "Vision 2030." Large press adverts stated: "He is bringing change to Saudi Arabia."
But now the TV ad, which ran 56 times on Sky, has effectively been banned by Ofcom, the U.K.'s media regulator, for breaking the country's strict ban on political advertising on TV and radio.
Ofcom ruled that the ad "was intended to influence public opinion on a matter of public controversy in the U.K.," namely Saudi Arabia's approach to free speech, human rights and the treatment of women, as well as "the sale of U.K. weapons to the kingdom and the kingdom's involvement in the Yemeni civil war."
But the Saudi government said it was run solely to promote trade between the two nations, in its submission to Ofcom provided by agency Beaux Media.