Saudi woman posing inside the Qasr al-Bint tombs complex, while campaigning for the right to drive
Associated Press / Reporters

Saudi Arabia

Young people in Saudi Arabia face one of the most repressive media environments in the Arab World. Censorship is rife and the press is state-dominated. Internet is restricted. The government has cracked down on activists calling for political reform and improved human rights, including women’s rights.


  • Population: 28.7m
  • Official language: Arabic
  • Freedom of the Press score: not free (score 84)


  • Kingdom, Al Saud dynasty is in power, political parties are not permitted, rentier state (no taxation- no representation)
  • In 2013, King appointed 30 women to the previously all male Shura council
  • One of the main players in the Arabic world, ally of US in the region


  • One of the wealthiest countries in the region due to oil resources (25% of the world’s reserves)
  • Civil society movements for more democracy are repressed, limited rights for women
  • Growing influence of Al Qaida, militant attacks on foreign labourers, many immigrant workers with limited rights


  • Very repressive media environment; press law prohibits any reporting that may lead to disunity or sedition, female journalists are allowed to report only on issues related to family, women and children
  • 44% of the population is online, social media challenge the severe restrictions, there are about 10.000 active bloggers
  • Strict internet filtering prohibits access to political, anti-Islam, human rights and sexual rights sites

Related items