The Saudi Government Reactions to YouTube based Programming: The Content Makers’ Perspective


The issue that this paper addresses is YouTube based programming in Saudi Arabia. It focuses on the bottom-up, professionally generated content (PGC) produced by the Saudi youth exclusively for YouTube – between 2010 and 2016. It explores the political context of YouTube based programming and is aimed at understanding how the programme makers operate from within such a restrictive political and media environment, and the interaction between the content creators and the Saudi Government.   

The paper has covered the perspective of the content creators by employing grounded theory methodology, and it utilized semi-structured online interviews with YouTube celebrities in Saudi Arabia. The interviews were conducted in Arabic, transcribed to Arabic text and then translated to English.

This analysis has led to the following themes: the programmes were operating in an uncertain regularity context, which could make them subject to the unpredicted attitudes of the government, this has led them to develop a self-regulation strategy that is sensitive to the political and cultural specificity of Saudi Arabia and this attitude of the government has resulted in two emergent themes; hard measures (imprisonment, blocking the episode and sending notification letters) and soft measures (visit by members of the Royal Family for production house and periodical meetings between the representatives of Ministry of Culture and Information and filmmakers).


Omar Daoudi

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