Inside Story

Censorship, social media and Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia orders Snapchat to block Al Jazeera in latest move after Riyadh-led bloc imposed blockade on Qatar in June.

Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms in Middle Eastern countries, especially in Saudi Arabia with more than seven million users a day.

However, they are not being allowed to see the Al Jazeera Discover Publisher Channel on Snapchat.

It is blocked by Snapchat because the Saudi government said the channel’s content violates its cybercrime laws.

It is the latest measure announced by Saudi leaders after they cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on it along with few neighbouring states. 

They accuse Qatar of supporting “terrorism”, a claim Doha has strongly and repeatedly denied. 

Should social media companies like Snapchat bow to any country’s political agenda?

And who decides where to draw the line between freedom of expression and silencing the media?

Presenter: Hazem Sika


Nishanth Sastry – Department of Informatics, King’s College London.

Pernille Tranberg –

Mohamed Elmasry – Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.