Arab World


17. Arabia Saudi > Communication and Media

The media is very strictly controlled by the government and criticism of the government and the royal family, and questioning of religious principles is not tolerated. However in recent years some reporting has been more open with coverage of militant attacks.



Newspapers are created by royal decree. There are numerous dailies and magazines. Many are subject to censorship. The government blocks access to websites it considers offensive.

Al-Riyadh, URL:
Al-Watan, URL:
Al-Jazirah, URL:
Arab News, URL: (English language)
Saudi Gazette, URL: (English language)

Business Journals
Saudi Economic Survey, (weekly, English language)


The Broadcasting Service of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (BSKSA), Mecca, is responsbile for all broadcasting. It operates four TV networks, several medium and short-wave stations and broadcasts programmes in Arabic, English, French, Urdu, Indonesian, and Swahili languages. There are six television stations located at Jeddah, Riyadh, Medina, Kassim, Dammam and Abha.

Private TV stations cannot operate in Saudi Arabia but there are several pan-Arab statellite and pay-TV broadcvasters. In the eastern part of the country, viewers can pick up television stations from neighbouring countries.

Broadcasting Service of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (BSKSA), c/o Ministry of Information, PO Box 60059, Riyadh. Tel: +966 (0)1 401 4440, fax: +966 (0)1 403 8177, URL:


The postal service has improved much in recent years. The postal service is now run by the public-corporation Saudi Post. Only post boxes are available; there is no postal insurance or home delivery although there are plans to develop home delivery. There are over 1,200 post offices. More than 900 million items are processed each year.

Recent figures show that there are some 4 million telephone lines. International direct dialling is available. In May 1998 the telecommunication sector was privatised and is now the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC).

In 1996 a global system for mobiles was launched, with a network of 500,000 mobile phones to cover 45 cities and towns. Figures for 2007 estimated that over 28 million mobile phones were in use.

The internet became available in Saudi Arabia in 1999. The government has a security system in place which prevents access to websites which it considers offensive. Figures from 2008 estimate that over 6 million people are regular internet users, of whom over 66 per cent were believed to be women.

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