Saudi Arabia forces all bloggers to get a license

Only Saudi Arabian nationals over 20-years-old may blog about news

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Saudi Arabia forces all bloggers to get a license The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Ministry of Culture and Information is enforcing a new law where all bloggers in the country must be registered and only Saudi nationals with a high school degree over the age of 20 can blog about news.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  January 13, 2011

The Saudi Arabian government has banned blogging and the setting up of e-news sites without a government license. All bloggers will have to register with the government and bloggers may only be Saudi Arabian nationals over the age of twenty and must possess a high-school degree, according to a document from the Ministry of Culture and Information.

Non-nationals will be banned from writing about news and chat room users are also encouraged to register with the government. Non-nationals will be allowed to blog about anything deemed appropriate that is not news.

The stringent new regulations, which went into effect on January 1, 2011, also state that all Saudi news blogs and electronic news sites will now be licensed and required to strictly abide by Sharia law and "include the call to the religion of Islam".

Blogs are now also defined as falling under the Saudi Press and Publications Law.

The topics that bloggers can write on are also being strictly monitored, giving the Saudi government carte blanche to shut down any websites they disapprove of.

All Saudi Arabia-based news blogs, internet news sites, internet sites containing video and audio materials and Saudi Area-created mobile phone or smartphone content will fall under the electronic newspapers.

The new regulations also require all news bloggers to provide detailed information on their hosting company. Many fear this information could be used to block access to a particular website across domains or force host companies to take blogs offline.

Users who post on online forums, internet users who communicate on listservs and guests in online chat rooms are also advised to register with the government under the new law.

The Ministry will consider giving blogging licenses to those who think they deserve it, according to the official regulations.

Anyone caught blogging without a license may face a $26,664 fine and a ban, possibly even a permanent ban.

2408 days ago
Alexander

It is my understanding that bloggers are NOT required to register or conform with the aspects of the law that cover other, more formal electronic media.

This refers: http://saudijeans.org/2011/01/01/saudi-gov-law-online-media/

2408 days ago
jane

Is this from the top, or just some over zealous honcho in a quango position, making outrageous statements and then actions? Something we witness all too often in these parts.
Well, the brain(s) behind it obviously has/have not an inkling of the technology, concept or principal, so it will just make it all worse and amplified as those that do get around it.
As with the concept of 'media' in general, including the arts as such, it shows just what level of perception is .. um... er... perceived by so many here. There just isn't any! Other than fear!
From grossly amateur broadcast presentation and advertising, all the way across to blogging on web sites, it is pretty primitive along with the thinking. There is no shame in their folly, it is as simple as that.
We know where it all stems from! I remember having to present a press or tv/radio advertisement to some totally unqualified, unaware, uneducated, oblivious buffoon for approval, before being allowed to print or broadcast it. Here we go!

2409 days ago
MindSmith

This is both impractical to police and a complete over-reaction. Bloggers can be tracked and identified using various methods already implemented in KSA and therefore such an extreme senseless law will only drive people to seek more discrete methods of concealing their identities when blogging & sap all of KSA's current Internet Policing and monitoring resources chasing someone who blogged about their day at college, rather than focusing on real crimes and national security issues. Doomed to fail, and what a waste of time, effort and money. Even if one comments on something related to Saudi on Facebook, technically that is equivalent to blogging.....Two steps forwards, nine steps back.....

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