Saudi Arabia is aiming at increasingly monitoring online videos. The Saudi Broadcasting Authority seeks to censor the content of websites, including now YouTube video platform. The head of the Saudi organization, Riyadh Najm, said in the newspaper Al -Hayat that ” among its responsibilities, the Authority’s mission is to monitor the content of videos posted on the Internet, including on YouTube ,” claiming that “No country in the world shall tolerate the lack of supervision” on the websites. According to Reuters, Saudi Arabia ranks first for the percentage of its population (around 28 million inhabitants) who use YouTube.
According to OpenNet Initiativ, a site specialized in studying Internet monitoring practices, users who want to post videos must make a request to the authorities to get a license and have to comply with the production content terms. Riyadh Najm did not specify if the censorship was on videos posted from Saudi Arabia or onto the YouTube full content.
Saudi Arabia is considered as one of the most conservative in the world “[Access to sites] standards and conditions differ from one country to another according to the traditions and customs of each society”, added the Saudi official. But he admitted that this monitoring mission would be “very difficult.”
In June, the Commission on Information Technology and Communication (CITC) announced to have blocked access to Viber, a service that allows free phone calls, for not complying with Saudi regulations.
Saudi Arabia is considered by Reporters Without Borders as one of the” Enemies of the Internet “. Indeed, in 2011, Saudi Arabia did pass a law restricting Internet freedom of expression. Since then, any information or blog must get a license from the Ministry of Culture and Information to be allowed to publish content on the Internet.
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