JAFFA, Israel – Saudi Arabia’s Media Council has released a special statement in which it denies reports that cinemas are about to open in the country.
Earlier this month, the Saudi news network Al Akhbariya reported that authorities in Riyadh have decided to repeal a decades-long ban and allow a cinema theater to open in the capital. The report went viral on social media.
The government-sponsored network also reported that the Saudi Cinema Committee and several local businessmen signed a preliminary agreement that would usher screenings in a proper theater, as opposed to sports clubs where films have been screened to date.
Some have expressed hope that this is the latest in a series of overtures, which included the appointment of female representatives to the Shura Council and giving women, for the first time, the right to vote and run in last Saturday’s local elections.
Supporters of the decision celebrated it – albeit prematurely – with the hashtag #finally_cinemas_in_Saudi_Arabia.