Exploring the Transitional Era in Saudi Arabia Journalism Discourse and the Path towards the Right to Freedom of Expression

  •  Hassan Alnajrani    
  •  Ayman Bajnaid    
  •  Tariq Elyas    
  •  Ra’ed Masa’deh    


This study investigates the role of non-state religious and cultural factors in determining a journalist’s freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia. Content analysis and quantitative research are used to determine the factors that impact freedom of expression. ‘Social responsibility theory’ is incorporated into the analysis in order to establish the connection between journalists and the community, specifically with respect to their interaction with non-state factors. The data for the study is collected and interpreted in two steps: first, news about events in Medina newspaper is examined; second, interviews with Saudi journalists are conducted and analyzed by implementing a semi-structure approach. The results confirm the relationship between non-state factors (such as culture and religion) and freedom of expression for Saudi journalists. Also, the religious background of Saudi journalists appears to affect their right to practice freedom of expression; for instance, some journalists with specific religious views avoid writing about rape and drugs crimes. In addition, journalists change their tribal and family names to escape judgment and work freely. Finally, some concluding remarks are provided about the responsibility of Saudi journalists to protect the image of Saudi Arabian society.

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