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Saudi Arabia 2017 | TELECOMS & IT | COLUMN

TBY talks to Bandar bin Mohammed Asiri , President, General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), on the secotr.

Bandar bin Mohammed Asiri

How has the commission embraced changing technologies while addressing the country's needs?

Saudi Arabia is more challenging than other markets. It has had significant growth in digital consumption in the last couple of years. Saudi Arabia is the second-largest consumer of YouTube videos in the world, and one of the largest users of Twitter in the Middle East. It has been one of the fastest countries to adapt to new technology. The main challenge of the agency is to regulate this fast-growing industry. One year after the commission was founded, a royal decree created the digital content regulation committee. It is composed of 16 different government agencies that support the production and regulation of positive content online.

How do you encourage local production while regulating content?

It is not easy to balance, but both are main responsibilities of the commission. A couple of years ago, GCAM focused only on regulation, as it was important to create and implement regulations that did not exist until that point. Once we were confident we had robust regulation, we started focusing on support for the industry, in line with Saudi Arabia's vision for 2030 and the national transformation program. We restructured the commission to achieve this goal.