The laws of the Kingdom guarantee freedom of opinion and expression and the right to access, receive and transfer information and ideas. Just as human rights are integrated and interconnected, to ensure that other rights are protected and that the application of this right does not have an adverse impact, the Kingdom's law adopt the principle of statutory restriction of freedom of expression, in line with the relevant international standards. Article (39) of the Basic Law of Governance states that the media and all means of expression must use polite language and abide by the laws of the State as well as prohibit anything that offends human dignity and rights. Furthermore, Article (8) of the Printed Materials and Publication Law stipulates: "Freedom of expression using all means of publication is guaranteed within the scope of Shariah and statutory law." Article (4) of the Electronic Publishing Regulations entails that the objectives of these Regulations include the promotion of a culture of dialogue and diversity, the establishment of a human rights culture shown in the freedom of expression guaranteed to all people in accordance with the provisions of the law, the protection of people's rights to establish and register any form of electronic publishing, and the spreading of the new media culture and means in society.
Article (24) of the Printed Materials and Publication Law affirms that local newspapers must not be subjected to censorship, except in exceptional circumstances approved by President of the Council of Ministers. Article (31) of the same Law affirms that a newspaper must not be banned from publication except in exceptional circumstances. Article (29) of the same Law limits the cases in which the license for a newspaper may be withdrawn or its publication approval revoked, namely in the event that the said newspaper is not published within a maximum period of two years as of the date of notification of the license, or in cases where the publication ceases for a continuous period of more than one year. Article (13) of the Electronic Publishing Regulations confirmed that electronic publishing in all its forms must not be subjected to censorship by the concerned agency, without prejudice to liability for published materials.
The King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue is a national platform for expression of opinion, through the participation of the various sectors of society in the discussion of many national issues. There also exist specialized media agencies which exercise their activities both locally and regionally; they include:
• The Saudi Publishers Association: established in 2003;
• Saudi Journalists Association; established in 2004;
• Saudi Producers and Distributors Association: established in 2009;
• Saudi Society for Opinion Writers: established in 2013;
• Saudi Electronic Media Society: established in 2014.
Some of the official means guaranteed by the Kingdom's laws for the purpose of exercising freedom of opinion and expression include meeting with the King or the Crown Prince or addressing the authorities with regard to public affairs, as stated in Article (43) of the Basic Law of Governance, as well as participating in meetings held by the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue to express the concerns of citizens. Other unofficial means include the expression of opinion in various media or through social media websites on the Internet.