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Two Saudi women journalists in Jeddah ended up in police custody after their sting operation in a children's hospital went wrong and were caught by the security guards.

The two women reporters working for a local newspaper trying to expose alleged lax security in the Jeddah Maternity and Child Hospital attempted to kidnap a newborn baby from the maternity ward but were nabbed by the guards who turned them over to police.

Opinion in Saudi Arabia was split between cautious supporters and outright opponents who claimed that such uncalled for adventures might result in more harm than good, the Arab News said today.

While some said they were totally against such press behavior and such practices have surpassed journalistic ethics out of line with local norms. Some others backed undercover investigations if they did not violate rules or hurt others.

Press spokesman for Hail police Lt Col Abdul Aziz Al-Zinaidi said journalists should give top priority to the interests of the country. ''They should also consider the interests of society and the security organizations,'' he added.

A lawyer said journalists should not commit criminal acts while carrying out investigative reporting.

A number of citizens who spoke to Arab News said some journalists have gone too far and crossed the line. They said if the woman was informed that her newborn baby had been kidnapped, she might have suffered a heart attack.

''These two journalists must be punished for their act, which spread terror in the hospital'' one of them added.


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