Following are excerpts from a TV report on Saudi women and web cams, which aired on LBC TV on April 18, 2007:
Reporter: Behind closed doors and far from any supervising eyes, they remove their shame and turn their backs on all customs and traditions. Girls display their bodies in chat rooms on the Internet, in most cases, free of charge. As soon as one of these girls places the camera in front of her, she begins to strip, displaying her seductive charms to more than 300 young men of different ages. Some believe that the phenomenon of stripping over the Internet may be understood within the framework of social hypocrisy, especially since they believe that our religious and educational discourse does not attribute importance to the strengthening of self-restraint, and prefers the appearance over the essence. This drives some people to play several roles and wear several masks.
Commentator: Women are seeking emotions and admiration. This way, she gets words of admiration for her personality and even her body. She might remove one piece of clothing after another, in order to gain this admiration.
Reporter: On the other hand, many believe that web stripping has not reached the proportions of a phenomenon, and that these are merely isolated cases. They emphasize that the vast majority of our girls protect their modesty and respect the customs, and traditions. These people believe that web cams can be useful tools. They can be used to maintain family ties, and can have educational applications, in lectures and conferences, for example.
Many young men and women believe that the endless prohibitions drive them to hide behind closed doors, and surf in relations that rebel against all costumes and traditions, in search of love, in some cases, and in order to satisfy their urges, in other cases, especially since the Internet gives them the opportunity to openly declare their repressed desires without fear.
Young Saudi woman in shopping mall: The girls misuse the web cams. They take them into their rooms, and even their families do not know that they have cameras, or what the girls use their laptops or web cams for.
Young Saudi man in shopping mall: A girl can buy a web cam for a very cheap price, 70-75 riyals. She takes it to her room, closes the door, and begins the show.
Reporter: Although Saudi Arabia has a strict mechanism to block access to site that are immoral, these chat rooms are available to all. Teenagers are the most frequent visitors to these sites.
The camera scans her body, sending an image, with all the details, to the other party. The further she goes with her stripping, the mare admiration she harvests, until she becomes a star, applauded by the masses – or so she imagines.
Saudi psychologist Samira Al Ghamadi: Instead of becoming upset that such images are being broadcast, we should ask why such things happen in our homes. Why do our children enter these sites? Out of curiosity. They seek answers to things we never explain to them. We tell them that this is forbidden, and shameful, shameful, shameful, shameful... We never answer them. We always say: "They will learn in the future." But they learn the wrong things, I am very sorry to say. We do not give them a sense of security. We do not give them enough room to express themselves, so they go to chat rooms. Many women might be upset with me for saying so, but there are married women whose husbands constantly pressure them, while they themselves go out at night and hang out. So the wife withdraws into the Internet and meet many people. She chooses an imaginary name, and meets guys who value her and treat her properly, while on the other hand, her husband humiliates her. Why wouldn't she go there?