[Ed. – Now if only they could end the public beheadings and stonings, they’d really be making progress.]
The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information (MOCI) announced in an official statement on Monday that commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the Kingdom as of early 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years.
The Board of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), Chaired by the Minister of Culture and Information, Dr. Awwad Alawwad, passed a resolution today allowing GCAM to grant licenses to cinemas, including commercial providers.
Dr. Alawwad said: “As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom. We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018.”
The measure comes as part of the Vision 2030 social and economic reform programme under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The decision to license cinemas is central to the government’s programme to encourage an open and rich domestic culture for Saudis. The move follows a variety of economic and social reforms including the announcement in a September Royal Decree by King Salman that women would be allowed to drive as of June 2018.