Saudi Arabian officials denied on Sunday reports that the country's strict authorities had decided to allow public cinemas to operate in the country, sparking a flurry of activity on Twitter as many users in the kingdom called for the ban on cinemas to be lifted.
Some local outlets had earlier reported that the commission had signed an agreement with business investors to create the first cinema in Riyadh, but Saudi's audio-visual media commission released a statement denying the reports.
Cinemas have been banned in the kingdom for more than three decades, but after the statement was released, the hashtag "allow cinemas in Saudi Arabia" (#السماح_بالسينما_في_السعوديه
) became a worldwide trending hashtag on Twitter, showing how many Saudis think that it's about time things changed.
The first ever Saudi Arabian feature film, Wadjda, was released in 2012 to international acclaim. Saudis, however, had to travel to neighbouring countries to view the film, due to the absence of cinemas.
Some using the hashtag argued that having cinemas in the kingdom would disrespect Islam, others commented that even if a cinema was established in the country, the images of women in the film would probably be blurred.
Activists in Saudi Arabia, often use Twitter as a platform to express their views and call for social change in the strict kingdom.
Also on Sunday, the country's first women councillors were elected in the country's municipal elections. Women had previously been prohibited from voting or standing in elections.