The Janus-faced new media in Saudi Arabia

Authored by: Deborah L. Wheeler

Routledge Handbook on Arab Media

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138385481
eBook ISBN: 9780429427084
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429427084-42

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Abstract

This chapter contributes to an emerging conversation on culture, communication, and the practice of everyday life in the Middle East focusing on how social media is embedded in polarizing forces for change in Saudi Arabia. The desert kingdom is known as being among the most conservative Islamic countries in the world and a country with strict sharia laws and public executions as well as conservative/repressive social mores. On the other hand, the kingdom’s Internet penetration rate is among the highest in the region. The chapter illustrates the consequences of this dramatic shift in the country’s digital footprint, providing insights into the scope and impact of Saudi Arabia’s social media transformation.

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