Young men and women in Saudi Arabia are launching their own talk shows and programs on YouTube and other video-sharing websites in which they are tackling issues such as unemployment, corruption, poverty and debate about social norms.
These youngsters freely share their opinions and views on web channels that are competing with conventional media outlets and receiving a wider demand and appreciation.
In the latest report published by the Saudi Communication Committee, about 11.4 million Saudi citizens spend 132 minutes daily on the internet, and according to Alexa web statistics, YouTube is the second most visited website in Saudi Arabia after Google.
Therefore, the conventional media realize that they cannot overlook this new youth media movement as a source of information to feed their own programs and communicate with their public.
“The scene is wide and can fit both conventional and electronic media that are here to support the traditional outlets. After all, the public is the final beneficiary”, said Ahmad Fatheddin, a writer and actor for “Al Tayer” television show.
Furthermore, Dr. Saud Kateb, a media advisor at the Isbar New Media Center, told Al Arabiya that “the electronic media present another choice for the consumer and is not an alternative to the conventional media outlets. However, they may hinder the conventional media institutions, including press, if the latter refuse to change and cope with the latest trends.”
Dr. Saud believes that the only solution for the conventional official and non-official media would be to use and invest in the electronic media that allow them to interact with the public and guarantee broad diffusion.
Electronic media also respond to the audience’s demands to participate in determining a show’s content and to respond, comment and interact with relevant themes.
Moreover, electronic media are not only the domain of younger people; older journalists are taking note of the media are keen to learn from the new experiences.
However, the new media arena is facing many obstacles, including financial difficulties and problems related to production, filming and editing. Furthermore, the founders of these electronic programs fear piracy that could alter their shows’ contents and use them for political purposes.
“Our goal is to promote universal axioms without delving into religion, politics or taboo subjects”, said Fatheddin.
(Translated from Arabic by Stanella Khalil.)