Blogging blossoms in Saudi Arabia

Young Saudis are increasingly using the internet to air their views on their country, report says.

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By  Rob Corder Published  October 19, 2007

Blogging is fast becoming a national pastime among Saudi Arabia's youth, according to report in regional daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Young Saudi Arabians are increasingly using the Internet to air their views about political, social and economic issues.

In a country where traditional media is monitored by the State, the Internet is providing greater freedom to express opinions and report news.

It is estimated that over 1000 bloggers regularly write on the Internet, according to the Official Community for Saudi Bloggers (OCSAB). Bloggers even have their own term: they are called ‘mudawin' in the Kingdom.

Basem al Sallum, one of the kingdom's pioneering bloggers told Asharq Al-Awsat that blogging could become the eyes and ears of Saudi society.

However, Saudi Arabian bloggers do not have complete freedom to publish anything they like.

"Blogs are subject to the same treatment as websites; they are blocked when they contain objectionable material such as pornography in particular, and other things in general, and things that go against the established principles of our religion and national regulations," stated Dr. Suliman Merdad, deputy governor of the Kingdom's Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC), which monitors web sites.

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