Social Media Defeating Saudi ‘War on Pornography’
Saudi Arabia believes it has a problem with Internet pornography and is trying to do something about it, Saudi Gazette reports. Four government agencies are tasked with trying to block or at least rein in various media channels — including social media — to better protect Saudi citizens. They see it as a losing battle, though.
JEDDAH — Four government agencies — the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia), Ministry of Interior, Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) and the Audiovisual Commission — are facing problems censoring porn accounts that pop up on social media websites. Unlike pornographic websites, which can be blocked directly, social media websites such as Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr are harder to block since officials have to target individual accounts, Makkah daily reported.
According to recent statistics released by the Social Clinic, a social media agency and consultancy headquartered in Jeddah, the number of users on the microblogging website Twitter in the Kingdom has reached 5 million while the Kingdom’s Facebook users numbered around 7.8 million.
An informed source in the Ministry of Culture and Information said the National Center for Youth Research, an affiliate of King Saud University, will discuss the issue of pornographic accounts on social media websites with the Audiovisual Commission and come up with a plan to deal with the problem.
Crossroads Arabia is written by a former US foreign service officer who has had two tours in Saudi Arabia, 1981-83, 2001-03, who reads and speaks Arabic and has spent the bulk of his career in the Middle East, with assignments in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain in addition to those in the KSA.