Al Maghlooth, AA
The relevance of gatekeeping in the process
of contemporary news creation and circulation
in Saudi Arabia
, PhD thesis, Media & Cultural Studies.
This thesis investigates the relevance of gatekeeping in the process of contemporary news creation and circulation in Saudi Arabia, using largely qualitative data obtained from the observation of two newspapers and a Twitter microblogger, and from personal interviews with thirteen participants. The researcher conducted participant observation in the newsrooms of the print and online editions of a traditional newspaper, Alriyadh, and of an electronic newspaper, Sabq. He also conducted participant observation of the work of a microblogger, Essam Al Zamil, as well as interviewing Saudi editors-in-chief, journalists, webmasters, bloggers and microbloggers.
The central finding of the study is the identification of an important component of contemporary news gatekeeping in Saudi Arabia, viz. post-production gatekeeping. The research illustrates the importance of this element to the field of digital journalism and considers its present and future effects, not only in Saudi Arabia but also internationally. Eight aspects of post-production gatekeeping are identified throughout this study as applying to the process of contemporary media production. These are: editing material after publication, deleting posts and news items, blocking, cyber-attacks, pressure on microbloggers to cease blogging, the effects of arrest, pursuing posters via their IP addresses and dumping hashtags through Twitter. The research also identifies four other significant aspects of gatekeeping in the process of contemporary news creation and circulation in Saudi Arabia, which are: social gatekeeping and women’s issues; patriarchal gatekeeping; religious gatekeeping; and hard-copy versus soft-copy gatekeeping.
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