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Mass media in Saudi Arabia - Research Paper Example

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Mass media in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia achieves control of the media mainly through the Ministry of Information, which administers the national news agency and the broadcasting services, and is responsible for applying censorship regulations (Rampal, 1994). Simons (2006) states that the three main roles played by mass media are as mirror, witness, and transmitter. This refers to the necessity for media to reflect the news, events, and situations, to observe occurrences of social, political and other interest, and to convey the information, observations and analysis to the general public. Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the various aspects of mass media in Saudi Arabia, including its functioning and conditions affecting Arab mass media. 2. An Authoritarian Mass Media System The standard systems of classifying mass media are as authoritarian, libertarian, social responsibility and totalitarian (Siebert, Peterson & Schramm, 1963). The Arab media do not fall specifically into any one of the above categories, but some elements of all four systems are found in the mass media system of Saudi Arabia. In most of the Arab countries the media function under different variations of the authoritarian theory; thus, of the four theories this is the one that most closely explains the Saudi Arabian mass media operations. The authoritarian governments in these Arab countries play a part in the use of authoritarian media functions. In the authoritarian system, the media “support and advance the policies of the government, which controls the media either directly or indirectly through licensing, legal action, or perhaps financial means” (Rugh, 2004, p.23). Rampal (1994) reiterates that despite political reform initiatives, Saudi Arabia remains an absolute monarchy. The authoritarian political system has resulted in a controlled press, particularly since 1958 when the government’s Publications Department was goven to censor publications. The authoritarian regime permits the media to discuss society and the machinery of government, but not of the people who hold the political power. This system is built on the theory that truth does not emerge from a great mass of people, but of a few wise men capable of directing and guiding their fellow human beings (Siebert et al, 1963). In the authoritarian system comment and criticism are carefully guided, and lucid goals for the community align with the objectives of the regime ...Show more


The mass media in Saudi Arabia generally perform the same fundamental functions of media all over the world, but in different ways. The primary functions of media include conveying news and information of general interest;…
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