Asharq Alawsat runs this story on the growth of blogging in Saudi Arabia. I’ve noticed the explosive growth, but most of the blogs have tended to be personal diaries—mostly by young women—which are active for a few months, then disappear. Of late, though, more politically and socially oriented blogs are coming on line. This article relies primarily on an interview with OCSAB, the ‘official’ organization of Saudi bloggers, a group which tries to establish and maintain a set of standards similar to those which govern the print media (i.e., it draws red lines beyond which Saudi bloggers go at their own peril). The organization isn’t all bad, though: they helped Saudi Jeans get back on line when access to his blog within the Kingdom was suddenly cut.
I think the article could have been improved if more Saudi bloggers had been identified (and perhaps even hyperlinked), but it’s interesting nevertheless.
Blogging Continues to Gain Momentum
Abdul Ilah al Khalifi
Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- There is relentless competition among Saudi youth on online blogs, each vying to post their views or make bold comments on the latest critical political, social and economic news stories.
Despite the fact that blogging remains relatively new to the kingdom, the number of weblogs based out of Saudi Arabia is estimated to be over 1,000, launched by both men and women, according to members of The Official Community for Saudi Bloggers (OCSAB).
Recently the OCSAB held a series of meetings with bloggers in various regions of Saudi Arabia, urging them to continue their efforts; particularly in the social, cultural, economic and scientific domains.
Mohammed Bin Fahd, deputy director-general of OCSAB, told Asharq Al-Awsat that his association regards blogging as an informative tool for â€œsocial, intellectual and cultural development.â€
He also pointed out that the meetings that were held, which bought together members and non-members of the OCSAB, tackled numerous subjects related to blogging, in addition to the latest trends in e-publishing and the possibility of publishing a periodical on Saudi blogging.
Basem al Sallum, one of the kingdom’s pioneering bloggers told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudis, who are currently closely following up on blogs with increased interest, had only become aware of their existence in 2003. However; it wasn’t until a year later, in 2004, that the blogging culture started to manifest following the adoption of the official Arabic name â€˜mudawinâ€™ (blogger).