Political Online Communities in Saudi Arabia: The Major Players

Yeslam Al-Saggaf, Kenneth Einar Himma, Radwan Kharabsheh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore the major players operating on Al-Saha Al-Siyasia online community, which is by far the most widely spread political online community in Saudi Arabia receiving 20 million page views per month. In addition to using 'focused' silent observation to observe Al-Saha Al-Siyasia over a period of three months (May-July 2007) and thematic content analysis to examine 2000 topics (and their replies) posted to Al-Saha Al-Siyasia during the period of May-June 2007, the authors also conducted semi-structured interviews (in Arabic) with 15 key informants to report their perceptions regarding Islamic fundamentalists, extremists and liberals etc. on their forum. The results of this study indicate that there are three main players operating in Al-Saha Al-Siyasia; Islamic fundamentalists, extremists, and liberals. Islamic fundamentalists who are the vast majority on this community use the forum as a medium to promote their image and defend their way of practising the religion. Extremists on the other hand, although their numbers in the forum are very small, use the forum as a medium to establish their credibility and the grounds for their actions. Finally, the liberals use the forum to communicate with the public, and advocate their plans for social reform, invite people to adopt a less strict version of Islam and adopt secularism as a way of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-140
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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