Saudi Arabians will soon require a license to build any kind of online publishing media, including forums and blogs. Sources said, online publishers may be forced to register with the government before they can go online.

Well, that’s the worst news I’ve read today. How come the government is requiring its people to register to talk? I don’t think blogging is different from talking. Most bloggers blog to express their thoughts and share it with others. I am excluding blogs like The Huffington Post political blog which is more like a business. I would not have any problem if Saudi Arabian Government asked blogs like The Huffington Post — which is comparable to any online newspaper — to register and get a license. But no, they are asking every individual to register. It’s like you have to register with the government if you wanna talk in public.

license to blog

The news probably first appeared in the Media Note (in Arabic) [Translated form here]. The official spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Information Saudi Arabia gives the signal that bloggers and online publishers are most likely to be asked to register before their voice or writing can go online in front of the world. Wow! How interesting!

To me, it’s like an interference on freedom of speech. What do you think of such decision of the Saudi government? You support it? Or you would like to protest it [on twitter with a hashtag #haza3]?

Written by A. I. Sajib

I love writing about technology, life, and everything between. I love photographing people. I'm a Happiness Engineer at Automattic/WordPress.com. The best way to get to know more about me is through my blog at http://ais.blog

13 comments

  1. I am slightly of different opinion about freedom of speech. Saudi government is not asking bloggers to shut up. Freedom of speech is still open, with an accountability & responsibility. Without a license, the freedom is often misused, specially online.

    Look at the other nations who do not need a license to blog: see all the hate speeches, see the racial abuse, see those nasty abuse on religious sentiments – all that is definitely not freedom of speech.

    In this world, when everybody is not good & honest, a transparency and accountability is definitely required. I think it’s high time every nation should introduce this system, China is following soon, others must come forward. The internet must be a clean space. If we can agree to have a passport, if we can agree to have a voter id card, then why not a license for online activities? What’s the harm in it? If you & I are honest, who’s stopping us from enjoying our freedom?

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    1. You don’t get the point. Imagine of our Bangla blogging platforms, do you think those bloggers could write from their hearts about politics and critics to government’s decision? No. Instead, this will give the government the power to control freedom of speech.

      And the number of blogs will decrease at a significant rate. There are numerous benefits of blogging. If a license is required, 90% people will not be interested in blogging and thus an industry with high potential will just die.

      Again, there are lots of bloggers who prefer to use alias. If we drop serious topics, there comes literature practice. Those bloggers (actually writers) use blogs to show their creativity to the world and sometimes they like to hide their name. I don’t think a license will allow someone to hold anonymity. Even if it does, it’s not a good idea.

      Don’t think from your personal perspective, think from general people’s perspective who might not be able or will to register as you do.

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      1. Sajib, this wasn’t my personal perspective. I cited some points, so did you. Nothing is personal perspective. What I said also affects general people badly – can you deny it?

        Doesn’t millions of muslims get affected when someone attacks Islam? Is it my personal perspective? Didn’t you feel uneasy when a nasty MMS was rocking BD’s online community during holy fasting? Is it also my personal perspective? Come on Sajib, where did you see a personal perspective here?

        Now you have to compare between your and my opinion – which is better. Is bashing the government more important than stopping someone from attacking Islam? Is anonymous literature writers more important than those people who spread nasty MMS in the internet? There are many more examples, the list gets longer & longer.

        Sajib, you & I may differ in opinion, but nothing is personal, try to understand this. Both you & I are saying something which affects millions. You can keep bashing the government legally. If government arrests you, you can fight it out legally. There’s a way at least? But unaccountability actually makes people bolder to abuse the system rather than to use it in a fair way. This was all I wanted to say.

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        1. You got the whole thing wrong. By saying personal perspective, I meant, you are mentally prepared and willing to register and get a license to blog. But how many people out there would take the mess? The number of bloggers (and equally blogs) will fall down immediately. I don’t know if it has something to do with you, but for me, I don’t want this to happen.

          Do you think it was too hard to spot whoever uploaded those MMSs? If you do, then you are wrong. There are technologies that are smart enough to find out who did what, even if it’s completely virtual. Remember RAB arrested one person for uploading cartoons to Facebook?

          When it comes to Islam, don’t talk. The power is in non-muslim’s hands so they don’t care whoever is doing what with Islam. For example, create a facebook page or group offending Christianity, you’ll see the action is taken immediately to remove it and ban you. Do the same offending Islam, Facebook will lose its ears.

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  2. I only said, good & honest people should have the courage to step forward and come out open into the light without any fear and express themselves boldly. Honesty should never be afraid. But it seems to me that you are supporting more on the side of anonymity and people conducting activities in a hidden state. But this will also lead to decrease in the count of some really good bloggers and you’ll be left with mostly odd guys around. Because, most often, hidden entities aren’t better fellows 🙂

    But I understand your point. Alas, if the others thought in your ways, then there would have been no worries at all. The real worry is somewhere else and you’ll get to know it after 2 or 3 decades from now – right there in BD 🙂

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  3. What Saudi Arab is doing is so expected.In fact Saudi Arab is not a country,A large supermarket like UAE.

    It is very illusive-the term “Independence”.Its limit and range.
    I don’t support licencing to write,but its okay that authority may monitor for hate and racial speech,cause we also suffer.

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    1. In case you noticed, I said that Licensing is OK for community blogs as well as blogs with large-scale business model, such as The Huffington Post. But forcing every individual to register with the government before they can create personal blogs is definitely unfair.

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  4. Ria… is that your FULL name?

    “Now you have to compare between your and my opinion – which is better. ”

    What an arrogant girl…

    ___

    “If government arrests you, you can fight it out legally.”

    Grow up.

    ___

    “most often, hidden entities aren’t better fellows”

    Really? From what Planet have you come from? All of my friends, family and co-workers blog with nicknames, are we all serial killers in disguise??

    What a loony…

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  5. @ Rose, we already talked about censorship. Here’s a screenshot of our discussion that went on Facebook on the day this post was published.

    We couldn’t agree at last although we had a seriously long discussion. 😦

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  6. We can’t blame the country if they are being strict. Maybe they are just protecting the national interest. Of course, it’s expected because they are not a democratic type of government which gives everyone the liberty to speech, they are after all a monarchy type of government.

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