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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

3 - The New Media Revolution, Public Opinion and the Relationship between the Governing and the Governed

Summary

Whilst Saudi government decision-making remains ‘top-down’, the dynamic within this approach has shifted as the top-down system incorporates a consultation process that includes newly established civil society institutions alongside recognition that public opinion cannot always be ignored in the new/social media age. Indeed, of particular significance in Saudi Arabia is growing public awareness, particularly amongst young educated Saudis, of the need for government accountability, transparency and best practices. In addition, there have been indications that the Al Saud leadership – to a degree – recognizes the necessity of being answerable to society on domestic policy-making issues that affect citizens’ lives. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to assess perceptions of new media usage, most specifically social media, as well as the importance of public opinion, government transparency and awareness of political issues, and the impact these have on daily life as linked to politico-economic and socio-cultural change in Saudi Arabia.

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