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Saudi buys Guinness World Records to launder rights reputation

The Times has revealed that the Guinness World Records has a sideline accepting money from authoritarian governments including Saudi Arabia to release positive messages describing what records they have broken.

Human rights activists say this is part of a whitewashing exercise to cover up human rights abuses. Saudi’s records are notably boring and include ‘largest paint store’ and ‘largest cleaning lesson.’ Of the 223 world records that listed KSA, 135 were paid-for consultations.

Death penalty investigator for Reprieve Zaki Sarraf said: “The Guinness World Records should not be helping launder Saudi Arabia’s reputation and whitewash what is happening in the kingdom.”

“This is a country where child defendants face imminent execution and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presides over a death penalty crisis. First it was purchasing football teams, now it is paying for Guinness World Records. And for what? To paint the false veneer of a country moving towards progress, not a deeply repressive state.”