Television reform in Saudi Arabia: The challenges of transnationalization and digitization

Marwan M. Kraidy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Media policy in Saudi Arabia has historically been concerned with building a national media system focused on preserving national cohesion and protecting Saudi media and cultural space from external influences, while at the same time developing a pan-Arab media regime enabling Saudi Arabia to project power and influence beyond the kingdom’s borders. Internally, the establishment of television in the 1960s was controversial and met with fierce resistance from conservative opponents; since then television has remained the subject of a moral-political-cultural struggle. Externally, Saudi media clout has grown steadily in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, enabling the royal family and associated businessmen to combine financial gain with political influence. As the satellite era entered its second decade, the precarious equilibrium maintained by the Saudi rulers between internal and external media came under a severe challenge as new media technologies, from satellite broadcasting to social media, eroded the boundaries between the Saudi national sphere on the one hand, and both the pan-Arab sphere and the global realm on the other. Media reform in the past ten years has therefore focused on restoring the balance between on the one hand various Saudi constituents - the Sahwa firebrands,1 conservative clerics, liberal activists, business people - and on the other hand between Saudi Arabia’s internal exigencies, and foreign agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNational Broadcasting and State Policy in Arab Countries
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781137301932
ISBN (Print)9780230367166
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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