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Volume :1 Issue : 3 1975      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

JOURNALISM IN SAUDI ARABIA: A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS

Auther : Muhammad Abdul-Rahman Shamekh

 

         Journalism evolved in Saudi Arabia gradually and has grown simultaneously along with the political and social development of the state.

         According to Professor Shamekh, two historical periods have stamped their distinct character on the growth of newspapers in Arabia. The first was the pre-Saudi period and the second commensurated with the new state in 1924.

         The first newspaper to appear in Arabia was “Al-Hijaz”. It was published by the Ottoman authorities in 1908, edited and managed by the Turks and served mainly as a political organ of the foreign ruling authorities. Its production was poor and full with linguistic errors. The paper ceased to function in 1916, along with the end of Ottoman rule in Mecca.

         Five other papers appeared during the Ottoman period, all of which were operated by the Turks except for “al-Islah Al-Hijazi”, which was published in 1909 by Jeddah notables and merchants in support of Sharif Hussain. The editor of the paper was a Lebanese and the manager a Syrian.

         During the rule of Sharif Hussain, the major paper of the period was “Al-Qibla”, published in Mecca in August 1916. It appeared fortnightly and reflected the political opinions of the Sharif of Mecca. It also played an important role in the cultural and intellectual life of the period, along with the other papers of Hijaz: “Al-Falah” of Mecca and “Barid al-Hijaz” of Jeddah. These three tracts ceased top publish at the end of Hashmite rule in Arabia.

         The take-off period in Saudi Journalism, according to the author, was at the end of 1924, with the publication of “Umm al-Qura”. This paper carried not only political but also cultural and literary articles and was edited, for the first time, by the Saudis themselves. Also published at this formative stage were two other papers “Sawt al-Hijaz” and “al-Madina al-Munaura” and three Periodicals: “al-Islah”, “al-Nida al-Islami” and “al-Manhal”. The first two specialized in Islamic and religious affairs while the third dealt with literary subjects-both being the major occupation of Arab publications throughout the twenties and thirties.

         The author concludes this early history of Journalism in Arabia by pointing out the importance of the foundation laid by the pioneer Journalists in the twenties, the traditions they have established and their impact upon the social, cultural and literary life of the country in its formative years.

 

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