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Blogging in Saudi Arabia: An Overview

Blogging didn't catch on in the Middle East until a few years after it started to take off in the West. It has brought a new world of freedom for the people of Saudi Arabia, as a way of bypassing restrictions on free expression. Giving Saudi citizens a forum through which they could speak their minds loosened the limits of what's open for discussion.

The Official Community of Saudi Arabian Bloggers (OCSAB) is on the more conservative end of the Saudi blogger spectrum. Not a single working Website could be found for it, but I rest assured it exists, and was co-founded by a Saudi law student. This indicates that not all young Saudis want reform. OCSAB accepts bloggers to become members if they meet certain requirements:

Because of the restrictive nature of OCSAB, it has yet to draw a a large following of the bloggers in Saudi Arabia pushing for more freedom and the ability to express their individuality. However, it has drawn like-minded conservative bloggers together. This has caused a polarizing effect between the two groups of bloggers.

Blogger's Front Page

Blogger is a popular blog-hosting Website for Saudi bloggers.

Bloggers in Saudi Arabia blog about many different topics, including debates on religion and discussion of sexual matters. Since these are taboo subjects in the kingdom, it allows the bloggers to escape the reality of their daily lives and speak their minds. However, this does not mean that bloggers are willing to throw all caution to the wind and expose everything about their thoughts, beliefs and identities.

This is especially true for female bloggers. Although women are blogging more in Saudi Arabia, they are more restricted members of Saudi society. They guard their identity more so than male bloggers and often blog anonymously. This happens especially when blogging about taboo subjects.

There are some who question whether or not the movement of the younger Saudi generation blogging will actually translate to more freedom, both for the press, and for Saudis in general.

The following is a case of just the opposite happening, and the reaction it caused:

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