The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Vice Media blocked news stories that could potentially offend the government of Saudi Arabia after the media company recently signed a high-profile deal with the MBC Group, which the Saudi government controls.
The report cites John Lubbock, a freelance writer, who said that he and two other writers were tasked by Vice to author a piece about Saudi youth campaigning for transgender rights. After intervention by senior management, Lubbock's story was pulled before a deadline.
Vice, which has already lost so much of its credibility, is seeing the last nail in the coffin as the company has decided to rebrand as a mouthpiece for the Saudi royal family. Though the kingdom has plenty of money to wield influence, its awful human rights record has improved little, and Vice's acquiescence to Saudi interests is morally repugnant.
Vice, which has granted endured financial trouble in recent years, plans to re-orient itself away from the news and toward culture and lifestyle media. Vice has worked in Saudi Arabia since 2017 and has maintained its editorial independence. Saudi Arabia only seeks to energize the country and the region's youth.