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No, the Saudi Arabia government did not re-impose a ban on cinema halls in their country

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A post is being shared on social media claiming that the Saudi Arabia government has taken a new decision to re-impose a ban on all cinema halls in their country. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.

Claim: Saudi Arabia government imposed a complete ban on cinema halls in their country.

Fact: The General Entertainment Authority in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia did not announce any such decision of banning cinema halls again in their country. After the ban on cinema halls for around 30 years, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s government lifted the ban on cinema theatres in Saudi Arabia and launched the first commercial movie theatre in the kingdom in April 2018. As per the latest press reports, the Saudi Arabia government is encouraging their entertainment sector as part of the Kingdom’s ‘Vision 2030’ to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil and allow it to become a global leader in the creative, leisure, tourism and hi-tech industries. So, the claim made in the post is FALSE

When we searched to check whether the Saudi Arabia government had really announced any such decision of banning cinema halls in their country, we could not find any such press release or official statement on Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority official website. The official Twitter handle of  General Entertainment Authority had recently tweeted about the bookings of a reality game event inspired by the famous Netflix series ‘Squid Game’. If the Saudi Arabian government had made any such announcement of banning cinema halls in the country, several media outlets would have published articles reporting that information. But we could not find a single news article reporting this information on the internet.

In 2017, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman abolished the decades-long ban on cinema theatres in the Saudi Arabia Kingdom. The Saudi Arabian government launched the first commercial movie theatre in the kingdom in April 2018.

The General Entertainment Authority was established in 2016 to help drive ahead of the Kingdom’s ‘Vision 2030’ plan to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil, allowing it to become a global leader in the creative, leisure, tourism and hi-tech industries. As part of this mission, the Saudi Arabia government had started permitting cinema, dance and other cultural events to make Kingdom a more modern, liberal and business-friendly country. News articles reporting this information can be seen here and here. As per the latest reports, in 2021, the Saudi Arabia government witnessed a 95% increase in the theatrical box office market compared with that of 2020.

To sum it up, the Saudi Arabia government did not re-impose a ban on cinema halls in their country.

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