Writing in Arab News, Molouk Ba-Isa takes a look at what’s to be found on YouTube about Saudi Arabia. YouTube, of course, is a free-for-all. Anyone can post whatever they want, so you find a mix of videos or slideshows of the positive as well as the opinionated (but not always well-informed) rounds of Saudi-bashing.

I suggest taking a look around, perhaps looking at those things that don’t exactly line up with your preconceptions and prejudices. Learn what people think about the country, positive and negative. I’ve provided links to examples of the kinds of videos Molouk mentions. My selections may not be what she would have chosen, so apologies, if necessary.

User Generated Content Gives an Inside View
Molouk Y. Ba-Isa, Arab News

People are always asking me for websites that can help them learn more about Saudi Arabia. For better or worse, YouTube is one online destination that is providing insights into what goes on behind closed doors in the Kingdom. Many expatriates only see Saudis at work or at shopping malls. They haven’t a clue what Saudis do the rest of the time — unless they’ve checked out YouTube.

If you are unfamiliar with it, YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. Unregistered users at www.youtube.com can watch most videos on the site, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos. Some videos are available only to users aged 18 or older e.g. videos containing potentially offensive content, although pornography is not allowed on the site.

Typing “Saudi Arabia” into the search at YouTube brings up 5,700 entries. That sounds like a lot, but as a comparison, “Paris Hilton,” brings up 59,700 entries. The videos that are posted range from the very interesting to the extremely weird. One video titled, “Saudi Wife Shows Us into her Home,” [Part I, Part II] should not be missed by anyone curious about how conservative middle class Saudis live behind the high walls surrounding their villas. There are loads of videos of young Saudi drivers behaving badly on the Kingdom’s roads. Saudi music groups, historical sites and folklore are available for all to see at YouTube.

November:03:2007 - 11:16 | Comments & Trackbacks (3) | Permalink
3 Responses to “Saudi Arabia on YouTube”
  1. 1
    Saudi in the US Said:
    November:03:2007 - 16:38 

    Unfortunately, another category that is not mentioned is of videos showing ultra conservative and some radical Saudi clerics covering topics ranging from Islam supporting wife beating to jihadi violence. Those videos paint an even worse picture of Saudi Arabia and Islam than the other categories.

    The norms of youtube viewing is that the more radical the video is, the more viewing it gets. This makes it hard to bring a balanced picture of Saudi Arabia.

  2. 2
    John Burgess Said:
    November:03:2007 - 16:59 

    I’ve pretty much given up my quest for ‘balanced’ media. I can do it myself–I think–but I know my agendas. Other media is largely driven by ratings and therefore has to dive to the bottom to attract the lowest common denominator. Islamphobes, haters, bigots… they all have in common one things: no heavily used brains, or at least not fully functional brains.

  3. 3
    Carol Said:
    November:05:2007 - 11:24 

    Thanks for providing some interesting links. I have to applaud the young Saudi woman for it is quite unusual to see a video like that available to the world.


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