Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

YOU ARE HERE

France's Viellard family: Hooked on steel

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Alex Hepburn, Vanessa Paradis and Smashing Pumpkins

Read more

FOCUS

South Sudan's latest attempt at fragile peace

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

IMF, World Bank chiefs call for 'new multilateralism'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Uhuru Kenyatta: 'No single country alone can combat terrorism'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Would you let your boss micro-chip you? Controversial plan aims to 'protect data'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

EU's Juncker expects Brexit deal 'in coming weeks'

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

'Women are the great survivors'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

'Populism easily turns into the promotion of radical nationalism'

Read more

Middle East

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on cinemas

© Stringer, AFP | A picture taken on March 27, 2017, shows a general view of the opening ceremony of the fourth Saudi Film Festival held in Dammam City.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-12-11

Saudi Arabia on Monday lifted a decades-long ban on cinemas, part of a series of social reforms by the powerful crown prince that are shaking up the ultra-conservative kingdom.

"Commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the kingdom as of early 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years," the culture and information ministry said in a statement, adding that the government will begin licensing cinemas immediately.

Reviving cinemas would represent a paradigm shift in the kingdom, which is promoting entertainment as part of a sweeping reform plan dubbed "Vision 2030", despite opposition from conservatives.

"This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the kingdom," information minister Awwad Alawwad said in the statement.

Hardliners, who see cinemas as a threat to cultural and religious identity, were instrumental in shutting them down in the 1980s.

Saudi Arabia's highest-ranking cleric warned in January of the "depravity" of cinemas, saying they would corrupt morals.

But authorities appear to be shrugging off the threat.

Saudi filmmakers have long argued that a ban on cinemas does not make sense in the age of YouTube.

Saudi films have been making waves abroad, using the internet to circumvent distribution channels and sometimes the stern gaze of state censors.

(AFP)

Date created : 2017-12-11

  • SAUDI ARABIA - TERRORISM

    Saudis host first Muslim anti-terror summit – but without Qatar, Iran

    Read more

  • SAUDI ARABIA

    The meteoric rise of Prince Mohammed bin Salman

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Death toll in Egypt mosque attack rises to more than 300

    Read more

COMMENT(S)