Cinemas, Women Driving, WhatsApp, Skype Calls: Bans That Saudi Arabia Lifted Recently

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Cinemas, Women Driving, WhatsApp, Skype Calls: Bans That Saudi Arabia Lifted Recently

Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to reform a country one ban at a time.

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country which is known for a lot of stringent rules and regulations. There are strict rules for things that people can and cannot do in the country. The country has often received a lot of flak for what is seen as backward and primitive outlook towards society. Women are not allowed to step out of the house without a male companion. And that male chaperone must be related to them. Women are supposed to wear the niqab in public and they are subjected to harshest punishments if any part of their body is exposed when out in public. However, in recent years Saudi Arabia has loosened a few of its tyrannical laws and tried to become a little less strict a country to live in. Recently, Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving, Skype, WhatsApp call and today allowed cinemas to be opened by April 2018 after 35 years of the ban.

These new developments are being credited to the young prince who is trying to consolidate power and socially reform a nation that has a majority young population that is an avid consumer of YouTube. Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to reform a country burdened with bans. The reforms are a welcome relief and have brought happiness to a lot of Saudis around the world. Following are some of the bans that were lifted by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Cinemas, Twitterati Hails the Decision


Saudi Arabia after a period of 35 years has lifted the ban on cinemas and entertainment. The first theatres will probably be opened in the country by April 2018. This move is a welcome relief for Saudis who have been watching movies and films in the neighbouring countries of UAE and Bahrain. Saudis on an average spend around $20bn a year overseas on shopping and entertainment trips and hopefully by the lifting of this ban the government is aiming to get the revenue back to the country. Saudi Arabia has over two-thirds population under the age of 30 years and they are all avid consumers of YouTube. However, the question arises that what kind of films will be allowed to be screened in these theaters?

2.WhatsApp, Skype Calls

Saudi Arabia in September announced that it is lifting the ban on calls made through online apps such as Skype and WhatsApp calls. However, these calls will be monitored and censored. Microsoft’s Skype, Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger, and Rakuten’s Viber that would satisfy the Saudi kingdom’s regulatory requirements will be made accessible to common people.

3.Ban on Women Driving lifted

Probably one of the most historical ban lifts was the fact that women in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to drive. It is the last country in the world to allow women to drive. From June 2018, women can be allowed to drive on Saudi roads. King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud lifted the ban which came as quite a shocker for a lot of people but gave them immense joy too as they called it a landmark decision.

Saudi Arabia is finally trying to come out of the seclusion and primitiveness that it had enveloped itself into. These reforms are small but a sure step towards greater freedom of expression and liberty for the people of the country.