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Saudi Arabia and the Internet

Because of the restrictions on traditional media, many people in Saudi Arabia are going online, not only to get news, but to publish their thoughts as well.

Internet use in the Middle East didn't explode until a number of years after it did in the western countries. Even so, journalists and Saudi citizens alike are using the Internet to do something they couldn't do before: voice opposition to government practices.

Facebook Protesters

In the wake of one of Saudi Arabia's biggest tragedies, concerned citizens have taken to the popular social networking site Facebook.

Flooding occurred in Jeddah, one of Saudi Arabia's largest cities, due to above average rainfall and lack of a proper drainage system in the city. It left hundreds people dead.

Flooded Underpass in Jeddah

People look on at an underpass that has been completely flooded in Jeddah. Obtained from eltendero on Flickr. The image is under a Creative Commons license.

Almost 38,000 protesters have gone to the Facebook group Popular Campaign to Save the City of Jeddah to voice their opinions, share videos and photographs of the flooding, and demand to know why such an event could have happened.

This Facebook group is part of a movement of younger Saudis wanting more transparency from their government and also wanting somewhere where they can voice their opinions.

Although many of the Facebook users in Saudi Arabia use pseudonyms, an increasing number are using their own names, and some are even using pictures of themselves in their profiles to identify themselves. In this case, many Saudis want to let it be known that something needs to be done about the flooding in the country's most cosmopolitan city.

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