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Human RightsSaudi Arabia

From ancient traditions & digital authoritarianism

Sarah Steffen
November 30, 2022

In Saudi Arabia, people can report anyone via a policing app – a woman was recently sentenced to prison for more than three decades over a tweet. And in Peru, people defend their age-old tradition of chewing coca leaves.


Did the neighbor say something suspicious? Or did a teacher make a critical remark at school? There's a tweet you don't like? In Saudi Arabia, with an app that's accessible on any cell phone, everyone can conveniently hand over supposed critics and dissenters to the regime.

Tilo Spanhel looked into this form of digital authoritarianism from Cairo. His report is presented by Elliot Douglas. 


Peru is one of the largest cocaine producers in the world. According to official figures, around 120,000 tons of coca leaves are processed every year. Only 15,000 tons are destined for legal consumption – including chewing the coca leaves, an age-old tradition in the Andean state. For Peruvians the plant has a deeper cultural and spiritual significance.

Sven Weniger and Michael Marek set off into the Peruvian Andes to discover more about this famous plant. Their report is presented by Ineke Mules. 

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