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FRONTLINE: SAUDI ARABIA UNCOVERED

What to know: Eye-opening but slightly disappointing.
Recommended age 18-80
60 minutes
DVD
PBS DISTRIBUTION
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This undercover look into the repressive regime of Saudi Arabia and several citizens fighting for greater freedom of expression may be eye-opening for some as far as the government's violence against its own people and the lack of women's rights. But too often situations and images are presented with little or no context or background making for a very limited glimpse. This is a simplistic look into a complex situation. Disappointing journalism.

Programs delving into repressive regimes are important, educational and much needed, but this program often lacks context for events and leaves too much unsaid or explained. One hour is simply not enough for what it is attempting to do.

This is adult material and is recommended (barely and with misgivings) only for the oldest of children and then with adult supervision. It portrays several individuals fighting for freedom of expression in a very repressive country. There is violence against individuals by the police and rioting in the streets showing a woman apparently beheaded and an individual who has just been shot. The subject matter is not enjoyable in any way but a mature 16 year old should find this enlightening but it is more suited to a 17 or 18 year old if at all with much discussion led by a teacher or better yet an expert on the region and culture. The look inside a country where public images are tightly controlled is immediately appealing. The scenes of gruesome violence and the rough nature of some of the hidden video is unappealing.

Forty-seven. That's how many people the government of Saudi Arabia executed on terror charges in a single day at the start of 2016, in the kingdom's largest wave of executions in more than three decades. That bloody day -- which included the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a controversial Shia cleric and opponent of the Saudi government - sent shock waves around the region and the world, prompting fresh scrutiny of the oil-rich kingdom, long a U.S. ally.

Now, this new program, goes inside the tightly-controlled kingdom to tell the stories of men and women who are risking everything to try to change their country, and challenge the powerful ruling regime.

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