May 12, 1980 -
“Death of a Princess” airs nationally on PBS. The docudrama about a 19-year-old Saudi princess executed for adultery in 1977 is broadcast as part of World, a WGBH-produced documentary series that was the forerunner to Frontline. In the weeks leading up to its U.S. premiere, the Saudi government pressured PBS through the U.S. State Department and Congress to drop the film. Mobil Oil, a major corporate underwriter of Masterpiece Theater on PBS and a partner in the Arab-American oil venture Aramco, criticized the film in newspaper ads. Some stations — including KUHT in Houston, Alabama Public Television and South Carolina ETV — choose not to air it.