Women’s position within media power structures and the web of New Meedia in representing women in Saudi Arabia
Media plays an important role by focusing on issues related to the society. Media takes steps to solve the issues by interacting with the people and works as pressure group against the government to solve the issues. It is obvious that media works for representing disadvantage group and empower them to discuss their issues to the public and as a whole national and international arena. This article is designed to discuss the role of media to empower women in Saudi Arabia and the web of new media such as internet representing women’s voice in Saudi Arabia. Before going to discuss the topic elaborately the author would like to review the subject matter.
Definition of traditional media and new media
There are two different media discussed in this article – traditional media and new media. Hoskins and others (2004) defines that traditional media is a form of communication via newspaper, television, and radio. On the other hand, Lister and Dovey (2003) defines that new media is a computer mediated media. Primarily new media means Internet. By the same token, new media may include digital tv, new way of imazing the body, a virtual environment, a computer game and blog.
The basic differences between new media and traditional media are the new media is interactive whereas the traditional media promotes one way communication (Duhe, 2007).
Traditional media and women’s right in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Naomi Sakr (2007:01) stressed that ‘when women rights are discussed in a middle eastern context, custom, and regulations in Saudi Arabia invariably come to the force’. Similarly, the author Abu Lughod (2002) seeks help from the west by saying that as a vestige of its colonial legacy, the West has long represented Muslim women as oppressed in their own societies and in need of rescue. Therefore, the women’s position within media power structures and media representation of women in Saudi Arabia is always a difficult question for the scholars, social researchers, and political scientists.
There are two folds of this research title. One is position of women within media power structure and the other is new media representation of women in Saudi Society.
Barriers of women’s right
Considering the nature of state and Saudi Arabia is strongest follower of Islam and state is run by the Shari’a law. In Shari’a law women are prohibited to face the outside world and express their opinion as a leader of the society (Afkhami, 1995). Problems and resistance from the Saudi government are inevitable if anyone discuss about the right of women in the media. For example, when any Television of Radio live programs broadcast the appeal from the broadcast agencies to the audience not to comments or raise any issue related to the women empowers or right in Saudi society (Sakr, 2007). By the same token, the women are not empowered to raise themselves their voice against any rule or discrimination in the society to the media (Kaufer, D. and Al-Malki, A. 2009). Considering the above facts the interactions between women and media in Saudi Arabia has yet remained questionable.
The most appalling situation of women empowerment has raised from the strictest control of the ruling elites in the Saudi Arabia which is male dominant always dominated the media to discriminate complimentary publicity about them. The government control over the media prevented demands that were not on government’s own agenda from being expressed, left alone debated, in Public. But that was never happened or no one raised that question because of heinous punishment to the resistant and the authoritarian nature of the state.
New Media and women empowerment
As we mentioned earlier that new media could be satellite television, computer or internet. Jordan (2007) stressed that in the age of globalization and information technology people are gowing within cyber society where cyberpower could be implemented by the users of new media. The power of cyber community is huge which can effect sociological, political, cultural and economic perspective at large. Considering the fact the eminent writer of the new media Seib (2009) conducted a comprehensive research on the new media in the Middle East and commented that the new media has made a new middle east. In in-dept analysis the author found out how the satellite television and the internet change their lifestyle of the people specially the women in the middle east. Topic and investigated how the satellite television and the internet changes the lifestyle of the people in Middle East.
Nowadays, Saudi women could express their view by writing blogging, sending their posts in different websites, publishing their videos in the youtubes over the internet. Flew (2002) mentioned that in the new media people can express their viewpoint in the global arena and can create virtual community. By taking these advantages Saudi women express their opinion in different form of new media.
In most recent years due to dramatic changes in the information technology and raise of new media such as Internet the government has been experiencing difficulties to handle the interacting between women and media internally and externally.
By expressing their feelings over the internet the Saudi women could build their empowerment to talk to their problems at least over the so-many social interactive sites. Within this process they could also contribute substantially to their nation.
The governments in Arab countries has been utilizing the new media such as satellite television to serve their purpose rather than representing the public interest. They have been controlling the people rights i. e., what to do and what not to do in the television. But form of new media as Internet has replaced that legacy to provide more freedom to the people’s voice. The example could be taken from the recent resistance in the Egypt, Syria, Iran, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where people’s voice has been raised and empowered in place of might is right in the Middle Eastern region.
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