As the Kingdom’s leadership continues to overhaul its economy, control over the official discourse may transpire to be one of their most important power plays yet. With substantial interests in the media sphere, Saudi-watchers must acquaint themselves with the beneficial royal owners of media outlets and what this means in the broader context of internal happenings. Today’s analytical insight looks at the origins of influence in Saudi Arabia’s media sector.

Key Points

  • Saudi’s media sector is dominated by royal influence. Although a closed space in terms of freedom of expression, there are a number of daily news outlets “approved” to circulate information within the Kingdom.
  • The Sudairi clan’s fingerprints are all over the country’s premier media publications, held through an entity set up by one of King Salman’s sons over three decades ago.
  • As a result, the two-pronged leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MbS”) is able to control and shape the official discourse coming out of Riyadh. Ultimately, this allows them to legitimise measures taken under their rule.