Authoritarian regimes the world over have become adept at the art of censorship but now the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia has stumbled on a new tool to add to the censors tool box – Winnie the Pooh branded beach ball.
The unlikely prop was poorly photoshopped into a seemingly innocuous photograph of a family bathing in an outdoor pool, which fell foul of strict laws on an Islamic dress code. As a result the father and three children now sport a badly drawn T-shirt but more extreme measures were required for the mother.
Rather than opt for a Burkini the creative sensors dug out a stock image of a beach ball to incongruously plonk in the corner, upon which the whole family gaze intently.
The advert was originally conceived by US pool manufacturer Intex but was unuseable in its original form when the product was advertised for sale in the Middle East, presenting a dilemma for Saudi hardware retailer Saco which was trying to flog the garden accessory during its Ramadan sale.
Strict Sharia law in the Kingdom forbids depicts the public depiction of women, who are required by law to cover up their face and body when out in public to spare the blushes of passing men.
Saudi Arabia has been heavily criticised by women’s rights activists for banning women from driving cars and requiring women to appoint a male guardian to make ‘critical decisions on their behalf’.
Saudi Arabia has taken steps to modernise in recent years; including launching its first ever campaign to stamp out domestic abuse.