Saudi Arabia is a country known for limiting the freedom of speech. In fact, it is actually ranked 161 out of 173 countries in terms of media freedom and was described in a 2012 report by the organization ‘Reporters without Borders’ as an internet enemy. Surveillance online is very expansive in Saudi Arabia. There are only 25 licensed ISPs in Saudi Arabia and all of their web traffic is routed towards the King Abdullah City for Science and Technology for filtering and censorship. This leads to the blockage of thousands of websites which the government there feels are not appropriate for the locals.
The censorship of the internet in Saudi Arabia is based on two things – Religion and Morality. In other words, the government will block any website it feels is immoral or those that are deemed not conforming to religious beliefs locally. With this kind of censorship, you need to use the best VPN in Saudi Arabia in order to unblock and access any kind of content you want.
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Social Censorship In Saudi Arabia
The level of censorship in Saudi Arabia goes beyond what many countries like China have. Unlike in China where only politically sensitive websites are censored, in Saudi Arabia, the websites that are not ideal for the local social fabric also get tackled. Websites about pornography, sex education, family planning and women’s rights, alcohol, and drugs are also blocked in the country. Since the government knows that people are constantly trying to bypass this censorship, websites meant to help with this including those that offer proxies are also blocked.
Until 2006, Wikipedia and Google Translate were blocked in Saudi Arabia for no good reason at all. Social media sites have always been targeted. Even though the government has constantly said that it only targets social media sites that promote explicit materials, there seems to be a blanket censorship of all social media websites.
As a matter of fact, Twitter was blocked in Saudi Arabia for many years and was only unblocked in 2008. As a result, in just three years after the censorship was lifted, the number of Twitter users in Saudi Arabia grew by nearly 3000%. This basically shows that there are so many people there who want to get more from the internet but because of this censorship, they are getting very little indeed.
In addition to social censorship, there is also a lot of religious censorship in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi royal family is known to have very close ties with the Wahhabi version of Islam which is more conservative. Any content that tries to promote an alternative form of religion or a much more moderate interpretation of Islam is blocked online. Any website that is deemed to be critical of Islam is blocked in Saudi Arabia. Recently, there was a storm when the Saudi Government said that it intended to ban the use of encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber.
In addition to religious censorship, there is also widespread political censorship in the country. During the Arab Spring where there were revolutions in the Arabian countries, the extent of censorship on political websites was seen very clearly. Most of the people in Saudi Arabia did not really know what was going on, and even today, very strict censorship is still applied towards political websites.
VPNs in Saudi Arabia
With all this censorship of online content, it would appear impossible to get what you want online. Well, it’s actually not, and the fact that you can use the anonymous VPN to bypass all these restrictions is music to the ears of many. With a VPN you can simply access anything you want.
Conclusion about VPNs in Saudi Arabia
Getting online and accessing what you want is now possible thanks to the best VPNs for Saudi Arabia. Just find a reliable VPN provider and unblock the censorship of the internet today. As always, we appreciate your feedback, and if you have any questions please feel free to ask anytime.