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Saudi Arabia

Government will regulate video-sharing sites

The Ministry of Culture and Information will soon regulate all video and image-sharing websites on the Internet to ensure they comply with the country's laws, an expert said here Sunday.
Hamza Al-Ghubaishi, organizer of the Digital Visual Forum that concluded in Riyadh on Sunday, said the ministry's General Authority for Audio and Visual Media has been entrusted with this task.
During the first session of the forum, Al-Ghubaishi said many young people do not know that they have to get permits to produce content on YouTube and similar sites.
"Many such clips contain ethical and religious violations. There has been no government body until now to supervise or regulate such channels, or issue permits," he said.
He said an additional task of the authority is to raise awareness among young people on the importance of quality production.
Al-Ghubaishi said the authorities are still considering the establishment of cinemas in the Kingdom.
Rami Damanhouri, human resources development officer at MBC Group, said that Shahid, the leading video-on-demand service, was launched in 2008 to increase the number of Arabic viewers by 5 percent. He said most Shahid viewers are Saudi, and 40 percent watch television on the Internet.
Abdul Rahman Al-Tariri, media consultant at Rotana Group, said his group sees the Internet as a platform to watch television. He said Rotana Khalijia set up six channels on YouTube to feature weekly programs.
Faisal Al-Saif, a Saudi television presenter, said there is a lack of tourism programs on the Kingdom on these websites. He said there has been an increase in viewers on YouTube compared to official television networks.
Jawaher Haydar, who set up a television channel, said: "I established the channel, Hayati Sucar (My Life is Sugar) because I have diabetes and wanted to raise awareness on the issue."
Several participants spoke about their personal experiences using Instagram.
The forum catered to those with hearing and visual disabilities. It held the initiative in collaboration with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Charitable Foundation.

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