Queen Rania Proves a Glimmer of Transparency in the Middle East

The Jordanian Monarch Is a Rare Instance of Authority Opening Up

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Saadi Alkouatli
Saadi Alkouatli
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In a region where leaders are not interested in freedom of speech, and women rarely appear publicly in the political arena, the last thing you'd expect is a dynamic young Arab queen broadcasting herself and her message on YouTube.

Enter Queen Rania. She recently launched a Vlogging channel on YouTube intended to open dialogue and change global stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims. What a revolutionary way for a head of state to address the whole world!

Not only was the medium creative, but so was the content. In a hilarious video, Queen Rania spoofed David Letterman's "Top 10" to explain why she launched the channel. No. 3 on her list is: "What you know about Arabs shouldn't come from ['24' operative] Jack Bauer."

Not surprisingly, given her royal and eloquent efforts, she won the Visionary Award on YouTube Live '08.

Both members of Jordanian royal couple are making waves. Her husband, King Abdullah, made a huge leap for the Arab media a couple of months ago by announcing to all chief editors of Jordan's main newspapers that reporters rights, including their access to information, will now be protected.

No single statement or initiative, however glamorous or surprising, can erase decades of detentions, restrictions and interference, but at least things are going in the right direction.

Saadi Alkouatli is national creative director, TWBA/RAAD, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His work has been recognized regionally and globally, New York Festival, Effies, San Francisco Show, MENA Cristal and Dubai Lynx.

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