English language daily Saudi Gazette has appointed the Kingdom’s first female editor in chief, replacing outgoing head Khaled Almaeena with his deputy, Somayya Jabarti.
Jabarti, who joined Saudi Gazette in 2011, previously worked as the deputy editor of the newspaper’s rival, Arab News.
Speaking to Al Arabiya, she said: “This is a first for a Saudi daily… A mold has been broken where editors-in-chief of Saudi daily newspapers are concerned.
“Being the first Saudi woman [newspaper editor] is going to be double the responsibility… One’s actions will reflect upon my fellow Saudi women,” she added.
Her predecessor Khaled Almaeena praised Jabarti as being “determined and dedicated.”
“Today I proudly leave my nominee, a female journalist — Somayya Jabarti — who will take the helm of the paper,” he wrote in a column.
“She has been associated with me for almost 13 years and I’ve had the goal almost as long of wanting to see a Saudi woman enter the male-dominated bastion of editors-in-chief.
“It was not a question of gender but of merit that decided and earned her this opportunity,” he added.
Journalism is heavily censored in the Kingdom – the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranks Saudi among the 10 most censored countries in the world – and opportunities for women in the field are extremely limited.