First Turkey, now Saudi Arabia. In countries without freedom of the press, and basic individual liberty, censorship becomes a necessity. However, the Islamic monarchs that rule Saudi Arabia must now adapt their tyranny of censorship and Sharia law to the real enemy: YouTube.

Viewers in Saudi Arabia watch three times as much YouTube as their peers in the U.S., according to Google, largely because the traditionally government-backed mass media hasn't produced enough content suited to the country's large population of young people.

An array of Arabic shows are produced in Saudi Arabia by online content creators that have, until now, been given a measure of freedom compared with the traditional media in the conservative Islamic kingdom.

The extreme rise of Youtube users and videos in Saudi Arabia has caught the attention of Saudi authorities. As the last bastion of free speech, YouTube has become a rare outlet in Saudi Arabia through which people can criticize the monarchy.

It is why the Saudi regime is now suddenly intent on regulating all audiovisual media, restricting opposition and including guidelines for "alcohol, tobacco, nudity and sexual acts." It is why three Saudi activists were arrested last month for posting YouTube videos decrying corruption and poor living standards. And, it is why calls for a more open and free internet across the globe are so important.


Julian Rossetti

Julian Rossetti is an intern at Townhall.com and a student at American University.