The resulting documentary — Saudi Arabia Uncovered — is a rare window into the Saudi kingdom, with stunning undercover footage as its backbone.
It’s a combination of footage filmed by Yasser, and clips from other activists who are filming and posting things on their own, like public executions and women being harassed. It’s clear that the information barrier with the outside world is breaking down.
There’s this strange irony — in the past, the government has held punishments in public because they want the people to know what the potential consequences of crime are. Yet they don’t want the outside world to see it — they care about how they’re perceived. So it seems like they’re increasingly carrying out these punishments behind closed doors — like this past January, when they executed 47 terror suspects in one day.
There is a network of young activists inside Saudi Arabia who are quite engaged online and with the outside world, who question their rulers and are frustrated they can’t fully express themselves. They want to show the world what’s going on, but they’re very aware of the risks of criticizing the regime or doing anything to embarrass the regime — you know, people in Saudi Arabia have been sentenced to years in prison for a tweet.
Read FRONTLINE’s interview with Director James Jones on the making of his film in our News section.
Watch rare interviews and news reports in our Documentaries section.