Transnational Media, Regional Politics and State Security
Zayani, Mohamed, 1965-
Saudi Arabia is a crucially important media player in the Middle East, commanding modern, sophisticated and far-reaching media systems. Driving the Saudi media hegemony is what may be loosely termed "a security imperative" which is tightly connected to internal dynamics, geopolitical considerations and regional rivalries. Empowered with its oil wealth, Saudi Arabia pursued a dual media strategy, operating state-controlled and circumscribed domestic media systems which insulate the population from undesired external influences and uphold the religious sensibility of the kingdom while developing decentralized, open and modern transnational media systems abroad capable of safeguarding the kingdom's interests and promoting its foreign policy. Instrumental as it may be in the kingdom's comprehensive security approach, though, the media have proven to be an inordinately complex asset. Although remarkable in many respects, the liberalization of Saudi media engendered a number of conflictual dynamics which are potentially consequential.
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